Bella Vista Officer Charged in Deadly Shooting

Full story: 5News KFSM

The officer involved in a deadly shooting in Bella Vista is now facing criminal charges.
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Concerned

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#1
Apr 20, 2010
 

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It's about time.
Sue

Springdale, AR

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#2
Apr 20, 2010
 

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Noo kidding! I had a feeling it would turn out this way...can't beat the video evidence!
Kevin

Rogers, AR

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Apr 20, 2010
 

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I read that he was shot 4 times? Either way... 2 wrongs don't make a right.... The man should not have fled in the 1st place. The officer should not have shot that many times.
But again, if he did not flee this would have never happend..... It's sad either way.
Sam

Lavaca, AR

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#7
Apr 20, 2010
 

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Kevin wrote:
I read that he was shot 4 times? Either way... 2 wrongs don't make a right.... The man should not have fled in the 1st place. The officer should not have shot that many times.
But again, if he did not flee this would have never happend..... It's sad either way.
That's like saying "if my wife hadn't provoked me I would never have killed her, therefore it's her fault I killed her." Would anybody buy that?
Gail Mills

Van Buren, AR

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#8
Apr 20, 2010
 

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This is why there should be more screening in the hiring process for a police officer. Many unstable people who enjoy the power-trip want to be police officers. This exact situation describes perfectly why certain people should not be carrying loaded weapons and should not be police officers !!
Lee

Springdale, AR

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#10
Apr 20, 2010
 

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Offended wrote:
The article mentioned 4 times not 6. Also, while I'm sure the officer did not intend to kill this man; he never should have run from the law in the first place. Now two lives will be lost. Traggic all the way around. You should however, get a grip on how you address your commentary telling someone to f off.
The article mentions 6 times!! He shot at him 5 times like that wasn't enough and to cap him off he shot him the 6th time. They were both in the wrong and unfortantely the office took a man's life and now he's going to have to pay the consequences of it.
Carol

Bentonville, AR

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#11
Apr 28, 2010
 

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I attended the Bella Vista City Council Meeting Monday night (04/26/2010). Following is the statement I read to them:

"Common sense would suggest Mayor Anderson and Chief Farmer viewed the dash cam recording in Coleman Brackney's cruiser and heard Mr. Brackney's dishonest and self serving statements witin hours of Mr. Brackney killing James Ahern.

With that thought in mind I suggest Mr. Brackney should have immediately been suspended from the Bella Vista police department for his dishonest statements. Instead he was put on paid administrative leave for 90 days. You Mayor Anderson and you Chief Farmer rewarded Mr. Brackney for his dishonesty.

In my humble opinion you Mayor Anderson and you Chief Farmer should immediately vacate the offices you hold in this community. You have proven yourselves unfit to hold these offices by your actions in this case.

The community deserves to have a mayor and a police chief who are above reproach. We deserve honorable and honest men in these offices.

Thank you for your time!" At the end of my statement I handed a copy of my signed statement to the Recorder. As I handed it to her I said 'I want to make sure this statement gets put in the City Council minutes correctly.'

At that point the recorder told me my comments WOULD NOT BE IN THE MINUTES!! I would think the bylaws say citizen comments are to be documented.

Tomorrow I will be contacting Bella Vista's City Attorney so I can get a ruling on recording of the minutes. If I am right and they have to publish those they will publish them under legal duress.
dan

Bella Vista, AR

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#12
Apr 28, 2010
 

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The officer should have been charger with at least 2nd degree murder.. Manslaughter? Did he not intend to kill the man? and should the Police dept seek the money paid by Brackney back? Why did the Police chief and mayor, both whom had seen the evidence, refuse to do the right thing and go ahead and charge the officer.. They have no balls.. and should be dismissed for their innaction in this matter.. I hope the deceased mans relations get a large settlement for the murder and innaction by the Bella Vista Police.. I now have absolutly no confidence in their actions.. they have no Honor and deserve to be dismissed and have to explane to other potential employers why they were so tardy in their efforts to see justice done.. I hope Brackney gets what he deserves in Prison..What a bad joke on the Taxpayers of Bella Vista!!
Karen

Cabot, AR

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#13
Apr 28, 2010
 

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dan wrote:
The officer should have been charger with at least 2nd degree murder.. Manslaughter? Did he not intend to kill the man? and should the Police dept seek the money paid by Brackney back? Why did the Police chief and mayor, both whom had seen the evidence, refuse to do the right thing and go ahead and charge the officer.. They have no balls.. and should be dismissed for their innaction in this matter.. I hope the deceased mans relations get a large settlement for the murder and innaction by the Bella Vista Police.. I now have absolutly no confidence in their actions.. they have no Honor and deserve to be dismissed and have to explane to other potential employers why they were so tardy in their efforts to see justice done.. I hope Brackney gets what he deserves in Prison..What a bad joke on the Taxpayers of Bella Vista!!
Mmmmm Interesting... I just hope that the "Family" do get money for this BUT i dont think his fiancee(carol) should be intitaled to anything.
Carol

Rogers, AR

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#14
Apr 28, 2010
 

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Karen wrote:
<quoted text>Mmmmm Interesting... I just hope that the "Family" do get money for this BUT i dont think his fiancee(carol) should be intitaled to anything.
By the way entitled is spelled this way, not the way you spelled it.

I have asked Jim's family if they win a law suit with any monetary gain it should go to Jim's charities, St. Jude, The American Heart Association and Creighton Prep. Any monies that result from this wrongful death suit should go in Jim's names to do some good.

One of Jim's best friends have a child who was helped at St. Jude at no charge to them. I know how proud Jim would be if he knew this settlement was going to an wonerful place like this to help children.

I don't get where some of the people on this site think I am after 'blood money'.

I make an excellent salary and do not need or want any money as a result of Jim's death. By the way Jim and I were not married and I would of course have no standing with the court. So don't worry your little head about Carol getting or even accepting any 'blood money'. Jim meant a lot more to me than that.

The battle I have been in to get justice for Jim and now finally there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. There may be some justice in Jim's case now that Brackney has been charged with Felony Manslaughter. I know I have offended a number of people by continuing to speak out for Jim. But it is not over yet. I will continue to speak out against injustice. The arraingment date is June 7th for anyone interested.
Karen

Cabot, AR

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#15
Apr 28, 2010
 

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Carol wrote:
<quoted text>
By the way entitled is spelled this way, not the way you spelled it.
I have asked Jim's family if they win a law suit with any monetary gain it should go to Jim's charities, St. Jude, The American Heart Association and Creighton Prep. Any monies that result from this wrongful death suit should go in Jim's names to do some good.
One of Jim's best friends have a child who was helped at St. Jude at no charge to them. I know how proud Jim would be if he knew this settlement was going to an wonerful place like this to help children.
I don't get where some of the people on this site think I am after 'blood money'.
I make an excellent salary and do not need or want any money as a result of Jim's death. By the way Jim and I were not married and I would of course have no standing with the court. So don't worry your little head about Carol getting or even accepting any 'blood money'. Jim meant a lot more to me than that.
The battle I have been in to get justice for Jim and now finally there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. There may be some justice in Jim's case now that Brackney has been charged with Felony Manslaughter. I know I have offended a number of people by continuing to speak out for Jim. But it is not over yet. I will continue to speak out against injustice. The arraingment date is June 7th for anyone interested.
And what gives you the right to ask them what they should do with there money? I hope they keep it for themselfs.
Carol

Rogers, AR

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#16
Apr 29, 2010
 

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Karen wrote:
<quoted text>And what gives you the right to ask them what they should do with there money? I hope they keep it for themselfs.
I guess you would like them to keep any money for themselves. By the way WHAT gives you the right to voice your opinion on this matter. It is called 'Freedom of Speech'. So carry on, you are definitely amusing if nothing else. I absolutely support your right to free speech no matter how misguided. Have a nice day.
Karen

Cabot, AR

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#17
Apr 29, 2010
 

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Carol wrote:
<quoted text>
I guess you would like them to keep any money for themselves. By the way WHAT gives you the right to voice your opinion on this matter. It is called 'Freedom of Speech'. So carry on, you are definitely amusing if nothing else. I absolutely support your right to free speech no matter how misguided. Have a nice day.
I have just as much right as you do. Why cant the "FAMILY" keep the money if there is any. They might just really need it. After all he did have a checkered past and it is the least he could do for his family to make up for it. I don't know there is just something funny here as you don't see his family jumping up and down or posting on here or going to these meetings just you. Its all most if you have an alterer motive.
white hat

Rogers, AR

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#18
Apr 30, 2010
 

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Carol wrote:
I attended the Bella Vista City Council Meeting Monday night (04/26/2010). Following is the statement I read to them:
"Common sense would suggest Mayor Anderson and Chief Farmer viewed the dash cam recording in Coleman Brackney's cruiser and heard Mr. Brackney's dishonest and self serving statements witin hours of Mr. Brackney killing James Ahern.
With that thought in mind I suggest Mr. Brackney should have immediately been suspended from the Bella Vista police department for his dishonest statements. Instead he was put on paid administrative leave for 90 days. You Mayor Anderson and you Chief Farmer rewarded Mr. Brackney for his dishonesty.
In my humble opinion you Mayor Anderson and you Chief Farmer should immediately vacate the offices you hold in this community. You have proven yourselves unfit to hold these offices by your actions in this case.
The community deserves to have a mayor and a police chief who are above reproach. We deserve honorable and honest men in these offices.
Thank you for your time!" At the end of my statement I handed a copy of my signed statement to the Recorder. As I handed it to her I said 'I want to make sure this statement gets put in the City Council minutes correctly.'
At that point the recorder told me my comments WOULD NOT BE IN THE MINUTES!! I would think the bylaws say citizen comments are to be documented.
Tomorrow I will be contacting Bella Vista's City Attorney so I can get a ruling on recording of the minutes. If I am right and they have to publish those they will publish them under legal duress.
You missed a couple of things Carol, things that people need to see in the proper context. The mayor and the chief were following a protocol that seems to be in line with that of other communities in our area. They stepped back and allowed the Arkansas State Police and the County Prosecutor to investigate the crime. For them to have suspended Officer Brackney without pay based solely on what they saw from the dash cam would have been improper. Here, we are talking about the back up lights on Ahern's vehicle. There was no way for them to know if the backup lights were operable. The mayor and the Chief made the right call..., they allowed the system to work. Yes, the system has taken a little longer than we would like but then again, the mayor and the chief had already done as they should and stepped back from the matter.

Secondly, your statement that the community needs a mayor and chief that are above reproach. How have you established that they are not? What have they really done that should require that they vacate their offices? Again, they were not in charge of the investigation.

You, on the other hand, made statements that Officer Brackney had murdered Mr Ahern. I understand that you made that statement in the heat of the moment, however, it seems at this point that the prosecutor disagrees with you. You, nor the evidence have shown that Brackney's actions rose to the level of murder even though his actions did result in Mr Ahern's death.

Thirdly, you say that the mayor and the chief should be above reproach. Have your own actions been as such? I understand that you have suffered a lose so I, like many others, will give you the benefit of the doubt here. But what about Mr Ahern? Was he above reproach? Look at his record for fleeing, drinking and driving, resisting arrest? That very night, according to your own statements, Ahern was drinking and driving again. As I see it Mr Ahern contributed greatly to his own demise. Yes, there are those that will say that he was a good man, that he was trying to turn his life around etc, etc etc,. But on that particular night, wasn't he drinking and driving? Wasn't he fleeing? Do you call his actions as being above reproach?

Granted, Officer Brackney made a tragic error, but the system did work and is still working. You need to let go of revenge before it eats you alive.
Gulf War Vet

Bella Vista, AR

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#19
Apr 30, 2010
 

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white hat wrote:
<quoted text>
Look at his record for fleeing, drinking and driving, resisting arrest? That very night, according to your own statements, Ahern was drinking and driving again. As I see it Mr Ahern contributed greatly to his own demise.
Comment above is INCONSEQUENTIAL and has absolutely no bearing on incident.

Rebuttal to Support TRUTH below:

Newspaper quote below courtesy of Benton County Daily Record- 04/21/2010, "Officer Charged In Chase Shooting", "PROBE REVEALS INCONSISTENCIES" By Bob Caudle

"Brackney began the chase and told investigators he did not recognize the car, nor Ahern, despite Ahernís police record."

Gulf War Vet
Gulf War Vet

Bella Vista, AR

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#20
Apr 30, 2010
 

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white hat wrote:
<quoted text>
As I see it Mr Ahern contributed greatly to his own demise. Yes, there are those that will say that he was a good man, that he was trying to turn his life around etc, etc etc,. But on that particular night, wasn't he drinking and driving? Wasn't he fleeing? Do you call his actions as being above reproach?
In Rebuttal:

While I do not condone the former actions of the deceased, Officer Brackney and Mr. Ahern are absolutely not equals per se in this unfortunate occurrence and should NOT be treated as such.

'OVERALL' responsibility rests upon the public role model, Officer Coleman Duke Brackney who was formerly trained via taxpayer support to perform his duties in the utmost professional manner regardless of the circumstances.

Furthermore, after the incident, Officer Brackney had a public duty to provide an accurate account of what actually transpired of which was reported, and apparently lacks integrity and truth.---SHAME

The former actions of Officer Coleman Duke Brackney reflect discredit upon himself, the Bella Vista Police Department and the City of Bella Vista.

Gulf War Vet
Billy Bob

Springdale, AR

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#21
Apr 30, 2010
 

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white hat wrote:
<quoted text>
You missed a couple of things Carol, things that people need to see in the proper context. The mayor and the chief were following a protocol that seems to be in line with that of other communities in our area. They stepped back and allowed the Arkansas State Police and the County Prosecutor to investigate the crime. For them to have suspended Officer Brackney without pay based solely on what they saw from the dash cam would have been improper. Here, we are talking about the back up lights on Ahern's vehicle. There was no way for them to know if the backup lights were operable. The mayor and the Chief made the right call..., they allowed the system to work. Yes, the system has taken a little longer than we would like but then again, the mayor and the chief had already done as they should and stepped back from the matter.
Secondly, your statement that the community needs a mayor and chief that are above reproach. How have you established that they are not? What have they really done that should require that they vacate their offices? Again, they were not in charge of the investigation.
You, on the other hand, made statements that Officer Brackney had murdered Mr Ahern. I understand that you made that statement in the heat of the moment, however, it seems at this point that the prosecutor disagrees with you. You, nor the evidence have shown that Brackney's actions rose to the level of murder even though his actions did result in Mr Ahern's death.
Thirdly, you say that the mayor and the chief should be above reproach. Have your own actions been as such? I understand that you have suffered a lose so I, like many others, will give you the benefit of the doubt here. But what about Mr Ahern? Was he above reproach? Look at his record for fleeing, drinking and driving, resisting arrest? That very night, according to your own statements, Ahern was drinking and driving again. As I see it Mr Ahern contributed greatly to his own demise. Yes, there are those that will say that he was a good man, that he was trying to turn his life around etc, etc etc,. But on that particular night, wasn't he drinking and driving? Wasn't he fleeing? Do you call his actions as being above reproach?
Granted, Officer Brackney made a tragic error, but the system did work and is still working. You need to let go of revenge before it eats you alive.
Weather you like it or not "White Hat" is right.
white hat

Rogers, AR

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#22
Apr 30, 2010
 

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Gulf War Vet wrote:
<quoted text>
In Rebuttal:
While I do not condone the former actions of the deceased, Officer Brackney and Mr. Ahern are absolutely not equals per se in this unfortunate occurrence and should NOT be treated as such.
'OVERALL' responsibility rests upon the public role model, Officer Coleman Duke Brackney who was formerly trained via taxpayer support to perform his duties in the utmost professional manner regardless of the circumstances.
Furthermore, after the incident, Officer Brackney had a public duty to provide an accurate account of what actually transpired of which was reported, and apparently lacks integrity and truth.---SHAME
The former actions of Officer Coleman Duke Brackney reflect discredit upon himself, the Bella Vista Police Department and the City of Bella Vista.
Gulf War Vet
And what exactly does that have to do with Carol's demand that the mayor and chief vacate their posts? What exactly did the mayor and the chief do wrong? They stepped aside, as they should have, and followed protocols that all municipalities and departments follow in these instances.

What Carol seems to want now is revenge and little more.., revenge from anyone that she thinks she can make pay a price. The mayor and the chief did nothing wrong..., they allowed the system to work. What more do people want?

I'm not attempting to minimize Brackney's action here at all, but I am trying to bring in to proper focus that Mr Ahern did contribute to the circumstances. On that night he was not acting as the "good person" that so many want to make him out to be. Did he deserve to die? Absolutely not. Did he contribute to his own death? Absolutely Yes!

While Brackney's and Mr Ahern's contributions to Ahern's death were not equal, let's stop excusing Mr Ahern altogether. That's my point.

Lets stop the head hunting. The mayor and the chief are both good men and have done nothing to warrant losing their jobs. Let's simply allow Brackney and Mr Ahern, in that order, to accept the blame for Mr Ahern's death. Further witch hunting is irresponsible and simply unwarranted.
Ron

Rogers, AR

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#23
May 1, 2010
 

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Gulf War Vet wrote:
<quoted text>
Comment above is INCONSEQUENTIAL and has absolutely no bearing on incident.
Rebuttal to Support TRUTH below:
Newspaper quote below courtesy of Benton County Daily Record- 04/21/2010, "Officer Charged In Chase Shooting", "PROBE REVEALS INCONSISTENCIES" By Bob Caudle
"Brackney began the chase and told investigators he did not recognize the car, nor Ahern, despite Ahernís police record."
Gulf War Vet
Truth according to whom, Bob Caudle? This proves NOTHING other than Bob Caudle assumes EVERY police officer knows EVERY person that has EVER been arrested, simply because he/she wears a badge. That type blanket statement simply is not true. It is entirely possible Brackney never got a clear look at anything other than the back of Ahern's head; and, with as much traffic as there is traversing through Bella Vista on a daily basis, it is unlikely Ahern's vehicle was the only one of its make, size and color to frequent the city. It is also possible Brackney may not have recognized Ahern until his body was removed from the vehicle and he could clearly see Ahern's face. Brackney clearly overreacted; there is no questioning that. Nor is there any doubt Brackney's overreaction has caused immeasurable and undue damage to the character, integrity and reputations of those who have chosen law enforcement as a profession. If Brackney has an ounce of honor left within him, he should recognize the damage done to all and enter a plea of guilty.

As for the Mayor and Police Chief, these two were "damned if they did, or, damned if they didn't", since day one. In all probability, this was the first time either of them had ever been faced with a situation such as this. At least they had the sense to realize they had neither the resources, nor manpower, to handle an investigation of this nature and solicited the assistance of an impartial, outside agency to conduct an investigation and render its findings. Though some disagreed with the choice of agencies, citing results of previous investigations by said agency, I think the public, as a whole, is satisfied with the manner in which this investigation was handled and its results.

In a general sense, I agree with "white hat" and submit there were two people responsible for this tragedy: one dead, one awaiting his judgment day; the rest have been victims of circumstance. It's time to dispense with the vigilante mindset; stop the head-hunting and let justice run its course.
Billy Bob

Springdale, AR

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#24
May 1, 2010
 

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Ron wrote:
<quoted text>
Truth according to whom, Bob Caudle? This proves NOTHING other than Bob Caudle assumes EVERY police officer knows EVERY person that has EVER been arrested, simply because he/she wears a badge. That type blanket statement simply is not true. It is entirely possible Brackney never got a clear look at anything other than the back of Ahern's head; and, with as much traffic as there is traversing through Bella Vista on a daily basis, it is unlikely Ahern's vehicle was the only one of its make, size and color to frequent the city. It is also possible Brackney may not have recognized Ahern until his body was removed from the vehicle and he could clearly see Ahern's face. Brackney clearly overreacted; there is no questioning that. Nor is there any doubt Brackney's overreaction has caused immeasurable and undue damage to the character, integrity and reputations of those who have chosen law enforcement as a profession. If Brackney has an ounce of honor left within him, he should recognize the damage done to all and enter a plea of guilty.
As for the Mayor and Police Chief, these two were "damned if they did, or, damned if they didn't", since day one. In all probability, this was the first time either of them had ever been faced with a situation such as this. At least they had the sense to realize they had neither the resources, nor manpower, to handle an investigation of this nature and solicited the assistance of an impartial, outside agency to conduct an investigation and render its findings. Though some disagreed with the choice of agencies, citing results of previous investigations by said agency, I think the public, as a whole, is satisfied with the manner in which this investigation was handled and its results.
In a general sense, I agree with "white hat" and submit there were two people responsible for this tragedy: one dead, one awaiting his judgment day; the rest have been victims of circumstance. It's time to dispense with the vigilante mindset; stop the head-hunting and let justice run its course.
You and "White Hat" are 100% right.

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