CENTRALIA — The Centralia Police department released body camera video of an incident that occurred on March 7, 2020, and has resulted in a police officer being disciplined.
According to Centralia Police Chief Greg Dodson, the incident was brought to his attention as the result of a citizen complaint.
The video shows Officer Billy White arresting Aron Flanagan after Flanagan and his daughter had called 911 for a man they found lying on the ground near the 13th Street railroad crossing. The man, evidently intoxicated, had claimed he had been struck by a vehicle.
Upon his arrival, White told Flanagan to move his vehicle, but Flanagan informed him they were going to leave since emergency personnel had arrived. White told him he needed their information before they left. That quickly led to an argument between White and Flanagan who said he did not have an ID and would not give his name.
White quickly began cursing and handcuffed Flanagan and ordered another officer to place him in his squad car. White told Flanagan he was under arrest for obstruction of justice but he has not been charged in court.
The incident was reviewed by Dodson and the command staff who found White’s behavior to be in violation of department policy and standards of conduct.
According to Dodson, White has been disciplined, and steps have been taken to prevent this type of conduct in the future. The Department as a whole will be provided further training and Dodson says he is also reinforcing his expectations of how officers’ interactions with the public are and how they must meet the department’s clearly established code of conduct.
White was suspended in 2018 after dashcam video showed him crashing his squad car into a Centralia High School student in the school parking lot.
Both vehicles were totaled and both White and the student were injured. Her parents subsequently filed a lawsuit against White and the City of Centralia.