WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former West Fork police officer arrested after a man died following a tasing incident at a traffic stop on Dec. 29 has pleaded not guilty.
Christopher David Cordeiro, 34, of Prairie Grove, was arrested July 27 for negligent homicide, a Class A misdemeanor.
Cordeiro was booked at 5:12 p.m. and released from the Washington County jail at 5:38 p.m. on a $5,000 bond.
According to an affidavit, Cordeiro was conducting a traffic stop for someone driving on a suspended license.
The affidavit says that Cordeiro physically removed the victim, warning that he would use his Taser if they didn’t comply.
The victim told the officer that he had a heart condition, but the officer tased him when they didn’t put his hands behind his back, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit says the victim continued to not put his hands behind his back and was tased multiple times.
Cordeiro called for backup and the victim claimed that they couldn’t breathe. The affidavit says that the last thing the victim could be heard saying was that he was dying.
When backup arrived, the victim was face-down in a ditch. His arms were restrained by Cordeiro, and his knee was on the victim’s upper back.
The victim was unresponsive and one of the backup officers checked for a pulse and found none. He was pronounced dead.
An autopsy was performed and the medical examiner determined that a combination of heart disease and methamphetamine intoxication, along with physical exertion, struggle and restraint were all contributing factors to the victim’s death.
The medical examiner also stated that the victim had injuries consistent with the use of a Taser, which the examiner believes also played a role in the victim’s death.
A review of the Taser shows that it was deployed nine times; seven times for a total of five seconds each, one time for six seconds and one time for two seconds.
Cordeiro’s jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 19.
If convicted, the maximum sentence Cordeiro could face is one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
After his arrest, the Arkansas Department of Public Safety announced that the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training is considering a request made by the West Fork Police Department to revoke Cordeiro’s certification, which would prevent him from law enforcement employment in Arkansas.