Police Beat 71-Yr-Old Man, Shoot His Wife With Pepper Spray

When police officers respond to a situation, it is highly unlikely that everyone will be content with the outcome – some collateral damage might happen; this is what Graham County sheriff P.J. Allred first said when he was asked to comment on an alleged police brutality incident that took place in November 2014 in Pima, Arizona.

Now, exactly one year later his stance has changed – as have the circumstances.

Seventy-one year old Frank Barr Sr has filed a lawsuit after suffering permanent damage thanks to unnecessary force used by local police officers.




Listed as defendants are: the town of Pima, Sheriff Allred, Officer Jason Ellsworth and former deputies Daniel Wilde and Chris Palma.

Barr Sr citizen says the three cops named in the lawsuit violated his rights on November 8, 2014. In the 12 months following the incident Wilde was fired from his job, while Palma took up another role at the Safford police Department.

The case of the stolen go-kart

The incident that led to the lawsuit, which is expected to come to a total figure close to half a million dollars, came about from a woman’s complaint against her ex-husband.


The lady had a child with Barr Sr.’s son, Frank Barr Jr.

According to the lady, the senior citizen had gifted a white go-kart to his grandson a year ago on his birthday – he had built the toy himself.

The complainant claimed that her former husband had taken it with him.

Officer Ellsworth was sent to an address just after 6 PM to investigate the matter. He had graduated from police academy exactly three months ago.

He first met with Barr Jr.’s ex-wife who told him that the go-kart was just down the street in the back of the 49-year-old’s pickup truck. He managed to locate the item, but could not find Barr Jr.

So, he went next door and spoke with the man’s father, who assured him that he would look for his son and even offered to return the go-kart.

Ellsworth decided it was best that he called for backup. Shortly after, four other officers arrived at the scene – these included Deputy Palma, Jacob Shilt, Dan Wilde and Sergeant Steven Mingura, who has now been promoted to the position of deputy.

Just as the group of cops were about to begin their search for Barr Jr., his father informed them that his son had been located and was pulling up to the property.




Following this, there was a heated exchange between the members of law enforcement and the man they had been looking for.

Barr Sr., concerned by the commotion – especially his son’s screams, wanted to find out what was going on. This did not bode well with Deputy Wilde, who told him to stay away and pointed his torch into the elderly gentleman’s eyes.

When he tried to move out of the beams to see what was going on, the aggressive cop used pepper spray on him. Startled by the burst of spray from the can, Barr Sr. cursed the officer.

Then, he tried to wipe the substance of his face. Just as he was doing so Palma hit him from the back and slammed him to the ground. The officers decided to take him into custody and during the process the 71-year-old suffered multiple bruises to his legs and excruciating pain in his shoulder.

His wife, City Councillor Debbie Barr, says she saw the entire thing. In fact, she even got a little bit of the spray on her.

Mrs Barr added that although her son had a confrontation with the officers, her husband had done nothing to incite the violence.

When matters got legal

Previously, the victim had served the town and the sheriff’s office with a notice of claim. He had requested payment of $ 250,000 for each of the injuries he suffered that day.

While, the case does not stipulate the exact amount requested from the individuals, it does state that it is over $30,000 as is a requirement of the law.

The claims are now being handled by the town’s insurer.




Allred who was once quite expressive about his sentiments in regards to the episode and supported his officers’ actions, was quite reserved in making any further remarks.

“All I know about the Frank Barr [Sr.] lawsuit is that he’s suing us, and so we’ve turned it over to the insurance pool,” he said.

About author

Filming Cops
Filming Cops 1614 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Don Unruh

    The second phrase in the final line of the story says it all: “we’ve turned over to the insurance pool”. In other words, it’s no skin off my ass, the citizenry pays for our violent behavior.

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