Today, the Fayetteville Police Department announced Officer Brandon Jones is off of paid administrative leave and will return to duty following an officer-involved shooting in April.
Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor announced the conclusion of the incident investigation.
According to the Fayetteville Police Department’s post, investigators determined both the officers’ actions were justified, lawful and proper. The post also says the officers’ actions were found to be within Fayetteville Police Department Policies, Procedures and Rules.
The report says investigators gathered information through interview of the officers, audio and video records from both officers’ digital mobile video recorders and audio and video from both officers’ taser cameras.
Investigators also used third party video and physical evidence from the incident.
The investigation describes the incident as follows:
During the stop, Corporal Hanby pulled over 33-year-old Willie Tillman for driving without headlights on April 23. Hanby says Tillman seemed nervous so he called for a backup officer.
Officer Jones arrived at the scene as Corporal Hanby asked Tillman to step out of the vehicle.
Corporal Hanby says he saw bulges in both of Tillman’s pockets and asked Tillman if he could search them. Tillman placed his hands in his pockets, turned around and moved towards the open driver’s door.
Corporal Hanby says he instructed Tillman to stop but Tillman refused. Corporal Hanby and Tillman entered into a struggle at the vehicle.
Corporal Hanby was partially inside of the vehicle at this time; his upper body inside and his legs outside of the car.
Officer Jones entered the passenger side of the vehicle and attempted to push Tillman toward the driver’s door. Officer Jones was attempting to put the vehicle back in park and shut the engine off.
Officers say they struggled with Tillman over the gear shift.
The car spun around in a semi-circle in the parking lot and Corporal Hanby let go of the vehicle.
Corporal Hanby used his taser on Tillman, which struck him in the upper left side of his back. Officer Jones also used his taser, which struck Tillman in the lower right side.
Both tasers were ineffective.
Tillman put the car in gear with Officer Jones in the vehicle. The vehicle drove northbound on College Avenue.
Officer Jones attempted to tase Tillman again, but was unsuccessful. Jones drew his handgun. Tillman attempted to grab the gun. Officer Jones fired four rounds, the fourth round, which hit Tillman in the right leg, prompting Tillman to let go of the gun.
The vehicle stopped in the parking lot of 380 N. Sunbridge Dr. Tillman was taken out of the vehicle, secured and issued first aid by the officers until Central EMS arrived.
Tillman was transported to a hospital. He died on Monday, May 9.
Andrea Tillman Zachary, Willie’s sister, said there are still blanks needing to be filled in.
“I don’t understand why he was shot like he was shot I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand what happened in the car. It doesn’t make sense to me what the story is,” Zachary said.
She described him as a family man and said she wants to know the truth.
“All I care about is the truth. I’m not saying what’s right from what’s wrong, I just would like to know the truth his life was taken, his life was lost and I just feel like his family deserves to know the truth and that’s just that,” Zachary said.
In April, the department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office conducted investigations to determine if Jones’s use of deadly force was justified.
Tillman was never charged for this incident, but had multiple delivery of narcotics charges with FPD that date back to 2005.
Tillman had felony warrants for drug charges in Washington and Pope counties, along with a felony parole violation from the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Officer Jones is a 2-year veteran of the department and Corporal Hanby is a 6-year veteran of the department.
TA vigil will be held to remember Tillman at the Fayetteville Police Department on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
To read the entire post by Fayetteville Police, click here.