Dozens of cases handled by a former Siloam Springs police officer are in jeopardy of being dismissed

Seven have already been dismissed

Siloam Springs Police Station
Siloam Springs Police Station

BENTONVILLE -- Prosecutors have dismissed charges against six people after the resignation of a Siloam Springs police officer, and dozens of other cases are in jeopardy of being dismissed.

Michael Anderson resigned in September from the Police Department after credibility issues surfaced regarding his cases.

Capt. Derek Spicer, a department spokesman, said the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the department discovered the issues.

Anderson resigned in lieu of being terminated, Spicer said.

Bryan Sexton, chief deputy prosecutor, said five cases involving Anderson had been dismissed. Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren dismissed the fifth case at a hearing Monday.

Jeremy Roberts had been charged with possession of methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine with the purpose to deliver and second offense possession of drug paraphernalia.

Anderson arrested Roberts after stopping him while he was walking on a sidewalk and finding in his possession a plastic bag with a crystal-like substance in it, a scale with suspected residue on it and an unused needle, according to court documents.

Matt Reid, Roberts' attorney and a deputy public defender, was arguing at the hearing for a detailed list of cases in which Anderson had any involvement with the arrest or even if he appeared on the scene.

Reid said he believes he's entitled to the list and planned to file a motion in any of his cases involving Anderson if prosecutors didn't provide it to him.

Brynna Barnica, deputy prosecutor, stepped in and announced the charges against Roberts were being dismissed, making Reid's request moot. The judge granted the motion to dismiss the case against Roberts.

Prosecutors dismissed two cases Tuesday against a man involved in cases handled by Anderson.

Reid said he still plans to file the motion in the other cases involving Anderson. He said he knew the list the prosecutors provided him was incomplete because the name of a person who also had charges dismissed wasn't on it.

Jay Saxton, Benton County's chief public defender, said his office may be handling up to 40 cases involving Anderson.

Sexton said the Prosecuting Attorney's Office has reviewed up to 30 of Anderson's cases. The seven dismissed cases are included in the number, he said.

Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Robinson said any cases depending on Anderson's testimony will be dismissed. He expects more cases to be dismissed.

Robinson said they'll continue with prosecutions of cases for which Anderson's testimony isn't needed. He said the decision on whether to prosecute or dismiss will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Anderson was suspended without pay for five days starting Nov. 30, 2022, and was moved to the traffic department, according to documents from the police.

Conversations between Anderson and a woman he used for criminal intelligence were placed on the What's Up Siloam Facebook page, according to documents. The conversations were on his city-owned cellphone.

An internal investigation concluded the information received was true and led to the discovery of additional inappropriate conversations with females used for narcotics/criminal information, according to the documents. Nude photos of a woman not related to any investigation were found on Anderson's city-owned cellphone, according to the documents.

Anderson was found in violation of city-provided cellphone and Police Department policies and police officer code of ethics and conduct.

His resignation came weeks after Reid filed his motion seeking more information about Anderson's work as a police officer. The motion also accused Anderson of committing inappropriate acts.

Reid's motion claims Anderson admitted turning off his audio in violation of police policy during detentions and arrests and admitted to omitting material information from police reports.

The motion claims Anderson has been accused of planting evidence by multiple sources, including former criminal informants, to obtain probable cause to search, detain and arrest.

Reid's motion claims Anderson helped on Aug. 28 to procure and execute a search warrant against a former confidential informant, identified only as G.F., in retaliation for her denying Anderson's sexual advances and reporting his inappropriate behavior toward her.

Reid also wanted a list of Anderson's old cases to determine whether people convicted of the charges against them deserve any relief because of Anderson's work in their cases.

Nathan Smith, Benton County's former prosecuting attorney, issued a letter in September advising attorneys and people about Anderson's credibility as a witness.

The letter is important because it means defense attorneys will be aware of Anderson's history and he could face questions about the incidents if any of his cases went to trial.

During the investigation regarding inappropriate communications with a confidential informant, Anderson informed the police chief at the time he didn't use that confidential informant's information or intelligence in arrests of anyone under investigation, the letter states.

Reviews of text messages between Anderson and that confidential informant indicated the informant did provide Anderson with specific name, make of vehicle and timing of travel during last year's investigation.

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