A disabled Fort Smith man detained at the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center was taken to a local hospital with a head injury Wednesday after his arrest Monday at a Bost Inc. facility.
The incident is now under investigation by the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office. Bost Inc. provides services in western Arkansas for individuals with developmental and related disabilities.
John David Davenport, 25, of Fort Smith was found with a head injury in his solitary cell two days after being arrested by the Fort Smith Police Department on suspicion of aggravated assault and a warrant for failure to appear from a felony charge in August for second-degree battery against a police officer. His arrest record shows he is 5-foot-7 and 100 pounds, and was being held on a $5,500 bond this week.
Capt. Philip Pevehouse of the sheriff’s office noted in a news release Friday that Davenport was housed until Wednesday in protective custody, by himself, with officers checking on him every 15 minutes, Pevehouse noted.
“At around 6:40 am on Wednesday, Davenport was checked on by the pod deputy,” Pevehouse wrote. “He was given his morning medications and the deputy spoke with him. At around 6:51 am the deputy was making his final scan of the pod before he went off duty. He looked in the cell and noticed Davenport was lying on the floor. The deputy quickly assessed Davenport and EMS was called. The deputy noted Davenport had appeared to have hit his head. Davenport had suffered from seizures in the past and was currently on medication for them. It is unknown if Davenport’s injury is from a fall or from a seizure. Any determination of his injury at this time would be speculation.”
An initial review of video of the cell area "has not revealed anyone entered the cell at any time between the welfare checks by the deputy," the captain added. The sheriff’s office’s internal investigation will examine all pertinent video, records, and staff actions.
The Fort Smith Police Department also issued a release Friday on Davenport following questions raised this week on social media.
“Although we strive to find alternative means to provide treatment rather than incarceration, in this particular instance his actions, along with a lawful warrant for arrest, did not give FSPD officers any other choice but incarceration,” Lt. Wes Milam of the Fort Smith Police Department stated.
Davenport’s caretakers requested police assistance Monday “because was fighting them and spitting.” The caller said they “could not do anything with him” and that they “need somebody to come help us,” Milam added.
When officers arrived, other caretakers from Bost Inc. had also arrived to assist with Davenport.
Although calm at first, Davenport became “combative” despite efforts to subdue him. Davenport spit in the face of the officer, Milam added. According to Arkansas statute 5-13-211, spitting on a law enforcement is aggravated assault, a Class D felony. The officer arrested Davenport without incident. While traveling to jail, the officer determined that Davenport also had a confirmed felony warrant for failure to appear in court.