Arkansas police chief arrested and charged with kidnapping

EUDORA, Ark. (AP) — The police chief in Eudora, Arkansas, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping.

The felony kidnapping charge stems from Police Chief Michael Pitts’ actions in October 2023, Arkansas State Police said in a statement.

“Chief Pitts denies the allegations and we intend to defend the case vigorously,” his attorney, Russell Wood, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Pitts was fired from his job earlier this week, Wood said, adding intends to plead not guilty to the charges.,

Pitts, 45, was dispatched to a gas station in Eudora after reports that a man was causing a disturbance, state police said. Investigators determined Pitts illegally detained John Hill Jr., police said. Pitts took Hill to a remote location in Chicot County and assaulted him and left him stranded, according to the state police statement.

On the way to the remote location, the chief told Hill that he was going to “beat his ass,” Hill told investigators.

“Upon reaching County Road 86, Mr. Hill alleges that Chief Pitts forcibly removed him from the patrol unit and subjected him to a brutal assault, resulting in significant injuries to his face and head,” an Arkansas State Police special agent wrote in a court affidavit.

Pitts surrendered to the Chicot County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday. His bond was set at $5,000.