Blytheville, AR – A Blytheville police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man (video below).
The incident began at about 11 p.m. on April 7 when 35-year-old Marzues Scott attacked an employee at the Dodge Store, WMC reported.
Surveillance video from inside the convenience store showed Scott walked up behind an employee and began beating him.
The employee lost a tooth and had head injuries as a result of the beating, WMC reported.
Blytheville Police Officer Leann Norman responded to the 911 call about a disturbance at the Dodge Store.
Bodycam video showed Officer Norman went to the store initially and got a description of the suspect from witnesses.
Witnesses said Scott had left in the direction of the Deerfield Inn across the street, so Officer Norman got back in her police car and went to the motel to look for him.
The video showed her talking briefly to the desk clerk before she saw Scott in the parking lot and went after him.
“Hey, hey! Come here. Hey, come here, I’m talking to you. You, wearing all black. Come here,” Officer Norman called to Scott as she approached him across the parking lot.
Scott ignore her commands in the video.
“Alright, I’m getting my Taser out. Taser! Stop! I’m seriously about to Tase you. Come here. You just assaulted somebody at Dodge Store? Go to my car. Come on. Go to my car,” Officer Norman ordered Scott as she walked toward him.
Then the video showed she pulled out her duty weapon and pointed it in the direction of Scott, who had begun walking toward her.
“Go to my car. Do not come near me. Go to my car. Go to my car now,” she ordered him, then radioed the dispatcher asking for assistance on the scene.
The video showed the suspect walking towards the officer with a blank expression on his face.
“Get back now. Get back!” the officer screamed before Scott reached her and a struggle began.
The bodycam video showed the officer fought with the suspect for a couple seconds before she fired one shot at him.
“Shots fired. Shots fired. Shots fired!” the officer yelled into her radio as she lay on the ground.
As she called out “shots fired” for a fourth time, she fired her weapon again, as the suspect was still coming at her, although that cannot be seen in the video.
After she fired the second round, she approached Scott and put him in handcuffs.
The man was groaning and appeared to still be conscious although the video showed he was no longer behaving aggressively toward the officer.
Backup arrived on the scene quickly and Officer Norman, who only had 10 months on an officer on the department, was quickly disarmed and led away to another police car to sit down and catch her breath.
“He hit me in the face twice. I had no choice,” Officer Norman explained in the video.
Scott was struck twice by Officer Norman’s bullets, and arriving officers performed first aid and CPR while they waited for an ambulance, WMC reported.
He later died at the hospital.
One shot struck Scott in the torso, but investigators are waiting for the autopsy report to learn where the other shot hit. They are also waiting on toxicology results, WMC reported.
Deerfield Inn manager Jeff Sharp confirmed Officer Norman’s account of what happened, WREG reported.
“He jumped on her, he got up to her and they went down,” Sharp told investigators. “Then he got up and started after her again and that’s when she shot him a second time.”
Prosecutors announced Friday that they had reviewed the case and were not filing any charges against Officer Norman, according to WREG.
Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson said the department’s internal investigation was ongoing but that Officer Norman was free to return to her normal duties.
“This is obviously traumatic. It’s traumatic for the officer. She’s been 10 months on the job, she’s done a good job so far,” Chief Thompson said.
The chief said he released the video so that citizens would see that the officers activate their bodycams in accordance with department policy, WMC reported.
“I think it’s important for the citizens to know that they did this, and to be able to understand the interactions that took place,” he said.
You can see the shooting in the video below. The confrontation happens at about the 1:45 mark. WARNING - Graphic Content.