WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. – The West Memphis Police Department released video of a man jumping off a bridge during a police chase after a woman claimed on social media that police killed him.
On April 17, officers were dispatched to 210 W. Service Road for a vagrancy complaint.
An Arkansas State Trooper also responded to the call, police said.
A suspect in a brown Nissan Rogue attempted to leave the scene, speeding towards the soldier.
The soldier jumped out of the way to avoid being hit, and a police chase ensued.
The chase involved speeds over 100 mph on I-55, police said.
Arkansas State Police initiated a “PIT” maneuver, which struck the suspect’s vehicle and the exterior of the barrier before stopping on I-55 just before crossing the bridge toward Memphis.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as Darin Woodard, jumped out of a rear passenger door and jumped over the deck, landing about 40 to 50 feet below, police said.
He was rushed to Regional One, where he died.
A passenger in the vehicle was arrested.
West Memphis police say the passenger later took to social media claiming police murdered Woodard.
The WMPD statement on the event said, in part:
It has come to the attention of the West Memphis Police Department that the passenger in the vehicle, Ella Comfort, has been on social media making outlandish allegations that this agency murdered Darin Woodard. An allegation that will not be ignored or taken lightly. Any time there is a loss of life it is always unfortunate, but the grief you feel and the way you have chosen to handle it will not come at the expense of the integrity of the West Police Department. Memphis. Mrs. Comfort said we murdered Darin Woodard, we threatened her and she is asking for “justice”. The entire chase is on the pursuing officers’ dashcam, and you can see Mr. Woodard jump over the barrier wall after the vehicle comes to a stop before the officers can reach him. Due to these heinous allegations, the family sought answers and saw the same images that will be made public alongside this statement. At a time when the family should be mourning the loss of a family member, they have been bombarded with lies about what happened. The men and women of the department work tirelessly to protect this community and continue to work to build trust among citizens. This is an unfortunate example of what law enforcement deals with on a daily basis and it needs to stop. We will continue to do everything we can to be professional and transparent so that we can continue to be the police service this community can rely on.
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