BENTONVILLE -- A Bentonville police officer was placed on administrative leave while the department investigates a post on his Facebook page about last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to Police Chief Jon Simpson.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Benton County Sheriff's Office, when asked about a deputy whose Facebook post denied supporters of President Trump attacked the Capitol, replied no one had complained about the post. She declined further comment.
Simpson said the city received complaints from the public about the recent social medial post.
Jason Beeler's Facebook post states, "What is happening at the Capital [sic] is exactly what needed to happen! Open your eyes people, the left is taking everything you feel to be true and important and watering it down to the point it will go away. These law makers need to wake up and see the conservative side is fed up and will defend our rights! Prayers for all who are protesting today. Please stand firm and respectfully legally protest!!"
Simpson said Beeler is on administrative leave with pay. The department doesn't have a policy concerning social media, but does have one that governs conduct and behavior.
"Certainly, it is well established that a social media post by an individual employee would not amount to a position statement by the city," he said. "If any such position statement were to be made, it would come from the council, the mayor or legal staff representing the city. Further review and consideration of the circumstances concerning the post are being carried out, and corrective action will be taken, if appropriate."
Simpson said it's a personnel matter and he couldn't provide additional information.
There was also a post concerning the incident at the Capitol on the Facebook page of Lt. Chuck Wells with the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
"Every single cheap politician that has spoken out against today's actions at the United States Capitol... never opened their mouth while your small business was being burnt to the ground this past summer," the post stated.
One person then commented, "That is exactly right !! Now they think the patriots are the bad guy ! What BS."
A response posted on the page said: "At the end of the day, you will find that it was antifa that stormed the capitol and did all the damage, not the Trump supporters," Wells responded. "None the less, politicians were too cowardly to call them out over the summer."
"The Sheriff's Office has received no complaints about the post, and the Sheriff's Office remains vigilant in its unbiased enforcement of the law and protection of all citizens," said Lt. Shannon Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the office.
Wells has been punished twice before for his comments on social media. He was suspended for two days without pay in December 2012 after someone complained a post on his Facebook being offensive, according to records from the Sheriff's Office.
Wells was suspended in June 2017 for three days and placed on six months of probation after creating and posting a Facebook video in which he depicted himself injured and covered in blood while in a uniform that resembled a duty uniform, according to records from the Sheriff's Office.
The production violated the social media policy by using Sheriff's Office property to further a personal opinion on an issue rather than promote professionalism and respect for the agency, according to records.
Tracy M. Neal can be reached by email at [email protected] or Twitter @NWATracy.