Report released in Sheriff Pennington's public intox arrest

SALINE COUNTY (KATV) - Troubling details emerged Thursday about the moments that led up to the arrest of Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington.

Benton Police booked Sheriff Pennington on June 29. They just released a report Thursday detailing what happened that night. The most serious allegation is that he shoved another officer and actually tried to punch him.

Sheriff Pennington was arrested outside of Denton's Trot Line in Benton. A business representative said that when Pennington arrived, he appeared to be sober. After having two standard mixed drinks, he tried to stumble out so employees urged him to call for a ride.

According to the report, Pennington was drunk and when officers arrived. City police investigators called county deputies but the situation only escalated.

Lt. Mike Kassel wrote in his report:

"He pushed me again and this time, he balled up his fists and attempted to strike me with a closed right fist. Due to his intoxication, Mr. Pennington's movements were slow and uncoordinated and I never felt that I was in any danger.

"I was easily able to take control of Mr. Pennington and place him in an arm bar to restrain him while Officer Moore took control of his left arm. Mr. Pennington was handcuffed..."

Officers tried to make Pennington take a breathalyzer test but said that "he blew into the [breathalyzer] for about two seconds and then he put his tongue in front of the plastic straw, blocking the airflow."

Pennington was arrested and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest.

He issued a public apology on July 1, but that, too, has come under fire. Pennington said at that press conference that one of the reasons he had gotten intoxicated was because he had worked in the yard all day but not eaten so the drinks he had affected him more quickly. In an officer's report, though, Pennington reportedly "refused any food, stating that he had already had a big dinner before going out tonight."

The sheriff's drunken state continued at the Benton Police Department. Chief Kirk Lane wrote in his report that "at one point, he fell out of his chair, laid on the floor and wouldn't get up....During his rage, he removed his watch and slammed it into the patrol room table."

Despite Pennington's public apology, he has not stepped down and is still the sheriff of Saline County.