A federal court jury in Harrison Friday found Bull Shoals Police Chief Daniel Sutterfield not guilty on two counts of a three count indictment stemming from allegations that he used excessive force during the arrest of Nicholas Dore and reported they could not come to a unanimous decision on the third.
The jury began deliberating at 2:30 p.m., and finally announced to U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks that a decision could not be reached on charges that Sutterfield used excessive force in arresting Dore including hitting and kicking him while Dore was handcuffed. Brooks declared a mistrial on the third count. Sutterfield could face a retrial on that charge if the government opts to take the case to trial again. Judge Brooks approved Sutterfield remaining free on his present bond and ordered that he have no contact with witnesses in the case.
The two charges on which the jury found Sutterfield not guilty had to do with falsifying reports and abetting the falsification of reports.
Sutterfield was the first witness to take the stand Friday. He had a number of problems answering questions from U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung. Sutterfield answered many of Chung’s questions with answers such as: I don’t recall, can’t answer that yes or no, I can’t testify to that for sure, I suppose so and I can’t remember exactly what I said.
The incident resulting in the charges against Sutterfield began when Cleta Almond, Dore’s girlfriend, testified that when she came home for lunch she found Dore asleep on the couch in a wet bathing suit. Frustrated that he would not wake up, she threw mail at him. Almond said Dore then got off the couch, choked her and grabbed her face. The incident was reported to the Bull Shoals police and officers went to the residence at 210 Lakeview Drive, which the couple shared, to arrest Dore. According to testimony, the event escalated quickly and Sutterfield was reported to be “pretty irate”.
In testimony earlier this week, it was revealed that Sutterfield believed that Dore was a former Navy SEAL and that there was a weapon in his residence.
During their deliberation, the jurors asked to examine the shotgun that Sutterfield allegedly used to hit Dore, sent out numerous notes with questions for the judge, dined on pizza delivered to the federal courthouse and lost one juror about 5:30 p.m. when a member of the panel had to leave to attend visitation for a deceased relative. One of two alternates stepped in to take the departed juror’s place. The change caused some delay in the deliberations since the alternate juror had to be brought up to speed on what the other panel members had been discussing.
Sutterfield’s status with the Bull Shoals Police Department has not been publically
announced. He was placed on administrative leave from the department shortly after his arrest.