Bella Vista (AR) Government Ignores Citizen Concerns

By | November 6, 2010

by Brian A. Wilkins
11/4/2010 (links and photos updated November 13, 2018)

Thug Bella Vista cop Coleman Brackney (L) and Mr. James Patrick Ahern.

The January 20 murder of Mr. James Patrick Ahern by now former Bella Vista (AR) police thug Coleman Brackney will not grace the pages or airwaves of Arkansas “mainstream” media again until around December 7, when Brackney’s trial for a “manslaughter” charge is expected to begin. It is now abundantly clear, however, that this murder, which Brackney shot Mr. Ahern six times while he sat in his car, was avoidable, had the Bella Vista city government heeded the pleas of the citizens who elected them.

Mr. Matt Holland, a long time resident of Bella Vista, said that police state policies in Bella Vista are “standard protocol” and that Mayor Frank Anderson and Police Chief Ken Farmer “offer Carte blanche authority and indemnity to [their] law enforcement staff.”

Mr. Matt Holland

Mr. Holland called the Bella Vista Police on July 11, 2009 (like many Americans would in times of emergency) when four strangers came to his house. One intruded into his home, while another threatened him with a shotgun. Two others physically assaulted him in his driveway. When these allegations, along with the assailants’ license plate numbers and description of all of them, were forwarded to Bella Vista police thugs Kelly Wallace and Charles Tomlin, both “officers” said there was nothing they could do for him. When Mr. Holland asked why they were letting the assailants off without pressing charges, thug Tomlin became angry and yelled at Mr. Holland to “shut up and go inside.” And the story begins here.

Mr. Holland, clearly baffled by the behavior of the “police,” began walking back into his home, now knowing the “police” were totally useless, and mumbled the words “Jesus Christ.” Thug Tomlin ordered Mr. Holland to come back and place his hands behind his back, arrested him, then placed him in the back of the cop car. A witness, Ms. Charity Sherwood, saw the entire incident. The cops then took Mr. Holland to their shop, “processed” him, and released him, without ever reading him any Miranda Rights or telling him why he was under arrest. They ultimately charged him with “disorderly conduct.”

The next year would take Mr. Holland to court four times, on charges of saying “Jesus Christ” on his own property, which is what the arrest boiled down too. Mr. Holland learned that both “officers” Tomlin and Wallace lied to the prosecutor, when they say he “cussed” and “threatened violence” against them, which was why he was arrested. The case was eventually dropped after dragging this young man through nearly a year of hell and uncertainty.

Mr. Holland has written several emails to Mayor Frank Anderson, Police Chief Ken Farmer, and most of city council since the incident.

Bella Vista Police Chief Ken Farmer

Bella Vista Mayor Frank Anderson

He has attended city council meetings, written letters, and has said he is willing to take polygraph tests to prove everything he says is true. Even Mr. Holland’s father, a well-respected dentist in northwest Arkansas, personally approached Chief Farmer in his office to voice his concerns about his son’s safety, at the hands of Bella Vista Police. Mr. Holland has repeatedly voiced his concerns over police thug Tomlin, who once told Mr. Holland “I can arrest you anywhere for anything.” Farmer and Anderson have repeatedly dismissed these serious allegation with arrogant indifference, culminating with Mayor Anderson telling Mr. Holland to “take it to court.”

The local media (somewhat) covered a police-involved incident with Ms. Carol Owens, the fiancee of the now deceased James Ahern.

Ms. Carol Owens

It was about 1:30 a.m. on April 10, 2010, when Ms. Owens was on her way home from a late night grocery store run. A Bella Vista cop followed her, nearly bumper-to-bumper, all the way home with his high beams glaring into her windows and mirrors. This was also when the cop ran her license plates to determine she was THAT Carol Owens, the woman who’d been very vocal (to the displeasure of Farmer and his boys) about “Officer” Brackney murdering the man she calls the love of her life. The police thug turned on his blue lights and instead of immediately pulling her over, ordered Ms. Owens through his bullhorn to continue driving to the next street; a completely deserted and dark street.

The cop exited the car in a police thug rage, accusing Ms. Owens of swerving all over the road, driving through a stop sign, and of being intoxicated. Ms. Owens, who is diabetic, does not drink alcohol. Regardless, the cop forced her to blow into a breathalyzer not once, not twice, but FOUR times. The cop, who became more enraged with each “0.00” reading, threatening Ms. Owens with an open-ended taunt by saying she had “one more chance to get this right.”

The police thug, now with “backup” there, then ordered Ms. Owens out of her car and gave her a field sobriety test, trying anything he could to charge her with some sort of manufactured crime. When she passed that, the police thug then asked Ms. Owens if she was on drugs. This cop would make up laws as he went along, threatening Ms. Owens when she told him she takes blood pressure medication: “driving while taking prescription drugs is illegal,” the not-very-intelligent cop said. Ms. Owens was ultimately “allowed” to go home without being charged with any manufactured crimes.

Chief Farmer, of course, brushed the incident off as standard protocol, when he told a local newspaper that the “officer did not know who he was pulling over” and continued, “the officer thought he was pulling over a drunk driver.” Ms. Owens has received similar responses from Mayor Anderson and the city attorney regarding not only this incident, but when she had requested information into the murder of her fiancee.

What complicates these matters more is the undetermined role of Benton County Attorney Van Stone in all of Bella Vista’s government malfeasance.

Van Stone

Residents of Bella Vista, based on emails we received early in the “investigation” leading to police thug Brackney being charged with only manslaughter, thought Stone may be a rare “good guy” in Northwest Arkansas government. This (with all due respect) naive confidence has dissipated as time has passed.

RELATED: Van Stone resigning to work for Walmart legal team

The fact that Mr. Ahern was shot six times while he sat in his car by Brackney; and only being charged with manslaughter is where the questions start. Several residents have now pointed out to us that Stone asked a judge (and was granted permission) to use the results of the Bella Vista Police’s internal investigation at Brackney’s trial. The problem with this is that Stone did not disclose what those results were to the court. These results have also been well-hidden from the public, at the pleasure of Chief Ken Farmer.

Stone also seems to be completely ignoring Brackney’s past as a cop in Gravette, AR. Though we requested Brackney’s entire disciplinary file from the Gravette Police (via a Freedom of Information request), they insist he was never disciplined for thug behavior. However, a resident of Gravette, who does not want their name disclosed for fear of retaliation, said Brackney was ultimately fired from the force for punching an unwitting “suspect” in the face and after said suspect complained about the incident.

Yet, according to Gravette Police Chief Trent Morrison’s email to Operation Nation:


“Coleman Duke Brackney began employment as a part time officer on April 7, 2004.  He completed part time training on Aug 12, 2004.  He submitted his letter of resignation on March 28, 2005 to be effective April 08, 2005.  He resigned for personal reasons that he did not explain. We received no citizen complaints on Mr. Brackney during his tenure with our department, therefore there was no disciplinary action taken against him.”

There are numerous other incidents from Bella Vista residents which have been brought to our attention, from illegal searches, illegal seizures, and just a flat-out disregard for the Constitutional rights of citizens by Bella Vista Police. However, virtually all of the victims do not want their names disclosed for fear of retaliation by Chief Farmer’s boys. Here is a compilation of comments by Mr. Matt Holland from various sources.

Brackney should have never been a “police officer” in Bella Vista to begin with, had the city done its due diligence investigating his background; thus, Mr. Ahern would still be with us today. It is only a matter of time before another one of these “officers” kills or severely injures someone else, since the mayor and chief encourage and reward this behavior.

Though Brackney could get the maximum 10 year sentence from this “manslaughter” charge, don’t bet on it, based on precedent in Arkansas. We will continue following this through the end of the trial, which we’d be very surprised if Brackney gets anymore than a 90 day jail sentence.

5 thoughts on “Bella Vista (AR) Government Ignores Citizen Concerns

  1. Carol

    It is a terrible thing to live in fear. Especially when you are living in fear of the people who are there to ‘protect and serve you’. When you feel intimidated and harrased by the police and other members of the local city government it can and does make your life impossible to live in a normal way.

    Can you imagine how it feels to know once the darkness of night has descended you are too afraid to leave your home?

    Can you imagine always looking over your shoulder praying you won’t see a cop in your rearview mirror?

    How would you feel knowing there are cops driving by your home every night and wondering what they might do? Especially when a cop from this very police force has been charged with felony manslaughter for killing the person who was the love of your life.

    I personally know what this police force is capable of and so often wondered if I would be their next victim.

    I have never been arrested, never been put in jail and probably had my last speeding ticket over 20 years ago. I have always worked, paid my taxes and have lived a law abiding life.

    Because I dared to speak out against the ex-cop, the mayor and the police department who killed James Ahern I became a target to them.

    Even before the trial begins I have lost all faith and respect for law enforcement and the United States justice system.

    These cops protect each other and will do whatever they want to do to an innocent citizen. It is always their word against ours. It is a total ‘lose, lose’ situation for the innocent citizen who is targeted by these cops.

    The citizens of this great country need to get these rogue cops under control. If we don’t gain some control anyone in this country could bcome a target of those who are there to ‘protect and serve’ us.

    We must all be brave enough to speak out against injustice.

  2. John

    To anybody who has doubts, rest assured the biggest threat thecommunity of Bella Vista faces is that of its own local government and the Bella Vista Police Department. If given the choice you may wish to avoid this city altogether until something can be done about Mayor Frank Anderson and Police Chief Ken Farmer.

  3. Matthew


    “BELLA VISTA needs to shut down the police department till they can get experienced trained officers instead of using police academy rejects.”

    “I treat my dogs better than the Bella Vista police treat their citizens.”

    “I submit that this act, along with the memory of the Larry Norman debacle, have given the general public the idea that law enforcement cannot be trusted. Further, the handling of the entire mess by the Police Chief and the Mayor have so damaged their reputation that they can no longer be effective. The trust in the public institutions has been so degraded that nothing less than a thorough house cleaning will instill public confidence again.”

    “For what it’s worth though, the cop to me looks like a young, shady, rookie, who could possibly be a little crooked. Hate to judge a book by its cover, but he really looks…shady.”

    “I totally agree with you. People should really think about it before moving to Bella Vista. Until our corrupt city government is cleaned up Bella Vista is NOT a safe place to live. It is like living in Nazi Germany. Some of us are fighting back to put good people in city government here but that is a slow process.”

    “If you have not already contacted the FBI office that deals with public corruption now is probably a good time to do so.”

    “I just hope I never have tocome through your little town on my travels.”

    “One of the purposes of acompetent police or military force is to instill public confidence and this attribute is very important. With the Bella Vista Police Department under the leadership of Chief Ken Farmer, I’m currently not seeing the traits required to lead and instill public confidence. What do I see? Well, it appears to me that we have people employed on behalf of the public who are unable to differentiate between their professional and personal

    “I think this is a prime example of a small town cover-up. Had this been a justified shooting, details would havecome out long ago. The citizens of BV should be picketing outside BVPD and the FBI should be involved. The good old boy system is certainly in play here covering each others butt.”

    “Another equally troubling situation lies with the Mayor and Police Chief. They have known the facts for months but chosen to keep Brackney on paid leave. They will have to answer for their actions, but probably not until the Wrongful Death Suit trial (and at the next election for the Mayor).”

    “This is not right this police officer needs to go to prison.”

    “I think the police should spend their time on real crimes that actually can harm another person and quit being busy bodies.”

    See more in the story link above

  4. Time to clean house

    Bella Vista is now conducting another invegtigating because one of its finest used excessive force against another citizen.

    Of course they are doing the same thing they did with the James Ahern case. It is being kept quiet until the investigation iscomplete. The people of Bella Vista need to know the facts not be kept in the dark.

    Mayor Anderson and Chief Farmer tell the people of Bella Vista what the hell is going on with this investigation. Quit with the cover ups, you always wind up with mud on your face when you try to cover up your cops outrageous behavior.

    Did you know just the accusation of the use of excessive force is a criminal act against a citizen according to the US Department of Justice? This falls under the category of violating a citizens civil rights.

    If this has to be investigated there must be something to it. No doubt the cop willcome out smelling like a rose with the ‘good ole boys’ supporting him.

    Maybe now the Department of Justice will file criminal charges against the city for the acts of their rogue cops.

    Yes, it is time to clean house and get rid of these bad cops. These cops are so out of control they need to be kicked off the force.

  5. Mikel

    My friends and I were arrested in 2015 by these guys and I ended up with a felony charge for sea salt and the driver of the car hung himself after being released they falsify evidence it’s what they do


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