The State Police announced today that  Sammy Koons, a state trooper on administrative leave since September, has been charged with misdemeanor assault for striking a 12-year-old West Memphis boy on or near the face in an off-duty encounter

The State Police statement:


Arkansas State Trooper Sammy D. Koons, 47, of West Memphis, reported to State Police Troop D Headquarters at Forrest City today where special agents of the Criminal Investigation Division issued him a misdemeanor citation for assault in the third degree. Koons is a twenty-one year veteran of the department and holds the rank of corporal. He is assigned to highway patrol duties in Troop D.

Koons is alleged to have struck a juvenile during an off-duty incident.

On September 19, 2015 witnesses allege Koons stepped outside his home where several juveniles were gathered and a disturbance ensued. Koons allegedly confronted one juvenile and reportedly struck the juvenile on or near the face.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were assigned on September 21, 2015 to begin an investigation of the allegations. The investigative file was subsequently submitted to Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington to consider whether Koons should be criminally charged.

A conviction of Assault (3rd degree) could result in a defendant facing a fine of no more than $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail

A January 29, 2016 court date in West Memphis District Court has been set in the case against Koons.

Koons has been on paid administrative leave since shortly after the incident and will remain in that status while the case is before the court.

A formal internal complaint is also pending against Koons and will be investigated by the State Police Office of Professional Standards.

A misdemeanor assault conviction alone isn’t ground for loss of a State Police job, but a true finding of physical mistreatment of a child can get a person placed on the central state registry and that could be a disqualifier, apart from whatever evaluations superiors might make of Koons’ actions that night and his accounts of it to investigators, along with the trial testimony.

The case file is sealed because it involves a juvenile, so other details of the altercation aren’t available.