A Morrilton Police Department officer has resigned amid allegations that he used inappropriate force while booking an arrestee into jail.

According to 15th Judicial District deputy prosecutor Chris Carnahan, officer James Clinton “Clint” Murray hit arrestee Brandon Wilson, 26, with a service baton while booking him on suspicion of public intoxication and criminal trespass.

Murray resigned from the department after administrators determined that he had violated department policy.

Carnahan said that Murray had claimed that Wilson had been trying to grab something off of his duty belt, possibly pepper spray, causing the officer to respond. A surveillance camera may have captured the incident, Carnahan said, but his office had not been able to review the video as of Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors have turned the investigation over to the Arkansas State Police. 

Murray and fellow officer Dustin Levi Caudell were investigated after opening fire on a vehicle driven by 20-year-old Jermell Thompson in November 2008, killing Thompson. The officers claimed that they were trying to stop Thompson after he allegedly stole a bottle of whiskey from a liquor store and attempted to back over them in his vehicle. The two were cleared in May 2008 by Circuit Judge Jerry Don Ramey after special prosecutor H.G. Foster found no basis for criminal charges.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at joe.lamb@thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)