Mercado had been previously arrested for battery – by WRPD

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Left three different law enforcement agencies within one year.

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Newly obtained files show the aggressive police officer seen attacking a rail worker in the video had been previously arrested by his city employer for battery. He also held three different positions with three separate law enforcement departments in less than eight months.

Following several Freedom of Information Act requests by NEA Report, we received the personnel files of former Walnut Ridge Police Department Officer Matthew Mercado. With the video depicting Mercado both physically assaulting and verbally assaulting a railroad worker in an unmarked truck, questions from the public have emerged about Mercado, his employment, his background and more.

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Arrested Two Years Prior in Walnut Ridge

The detail which stood out the most in the hundreds of pages of files we received was that Mercado reported he had been arrested by Walnut Ridge Police Department for third degree battery in 2014. The reported arrest was on June 10, 2014 by Captain Walrupe, according to Mercado’s written application. He states he was found not guilty and all money was refunded.

NEA Report has submitted a FOIA request for this arrest report and all files associated with it. We will follow-up on this in a separate story.

Moving Around

The second of the two most significant details found in the files were that he worked at three different law enforcement agencies in a span of about eight months. He was previously employed in Colorado by LaJunta Police Department from April 30, 2016 to May 24, 2016 – for less than one month. He was also employed by the Crowley County Sheriff’s Department from May 28, 2016 to August 4, 2016 – a span of a little over two months.


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After leaving that job, he was not employed again until October, 2016 – as a pump technician for an oil company in Parachute, Colorado. He worked there for two months until December. His personnel file says he left it to, “relocate family back to Arkansas.”

He was hired by Walnut Ridge Police Department on December 15, 2016. It was merely 11 days after he was hired the incident took place with railroad worker Adam Finley.


Mercado said he felt like the most concerning social problem was the, “entitlement mentality.” This was under a section of the application related to attitudes on different topics.

Another addressed deadly force, when necessary.

“I have no reservations about using deadly force to protect the innocent, a fellow peace officer, or myself,” Mercado wrote. “I would also attempt to use non-deadly force if the situation permits.”

Mercado’s psychological evaluation was completed by Brad Williams, PH.D. Little Rock. In the evaluation, Williams wrote he felt Mercado was, “found to be free of any significant emotional or behavioral problems at this time in his life and is recommended for further participation in police work.”


At 7:46 AM on Feb. 7, 2017, Mercado resigned from Walnut Ridge Police Department through a text message to Chief of Police Chris Kirksey. In Kirksey’s attached letter, he wrote Mercado said he literally thought about it all night and decided to resign his position at WRPD, citing being able to provide for his children as the reason. He also stated he would like to think Kirksey would reconsider him as an applicant if a consolidation of Walnut Ridge and Hoxie were to happen.

“Morning Chief,” the text message began. “I’m sorry but I have thought about it and I am going to resign sir.”

Kirksey wrote glowing praise for Mercado in an email.

“I would like to take this time to thank you for the time you have spent with us as an employee and police officer at the Walnut Ridge Police Department,” Kirksey wrote. “You have truly stood out in a great light through the hard work you’ve displayed in the short time you spent here.”

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  1. Where did Brad Williams, PhD. get his diploma, out of a cereal box? And what about the HR Manager for the city? Did he/she even do a background check? Look at his spotty employment record. This officer is a psycho and a bully with a gun and a badge. The prosecutor and deputy prosecutor are incompetents, too – unless they are all in on a fine sharing scheme. Now, this is the type of department that the DOJ needs to look into. These hicks give good LEOs a bad name.

  2. Luckily this now aggressive “ex-cop” resigned before he shot and killed someone. He should never be employed in any authoritative position again. This cop gives all police a bad name. I’m an ex-cop too and would refuse to work with this POS.

  3. Ex-LEO here, this cop has some serious mental issues that he needs to address. He gives all LEO’s a bad name. If you’re afraid of your own shadow, or have an extreme insecurity complex, believe me, this isn’t the job for you. The days of Wyatt Earp “I am the law” are over, and they rightfully should be. Respect citizens, their rights, and The Constitution. And treat other how you would want them to treat yourself and your family. This Mercado guy is not only an embarrassment to the law enforcement community, but he’s an embarrassment to all humans.

    • It’s not just Mercado; the entire department is corrupt.

      And the prosecutor is no less corrupt for demanding citations be filed just because the citizen wanted to file a complaint.

      LEO needs to clean house. If LEO won’t, LEO should not be surprised if we start taking out the trash.

  4. We need a national registry of bad cops and ex cops and track them like sex offenders so they can never get a job in law enforcement again.

  5. Matthew Mercado appears to be psychotic in the video on YouTube. I hope he lost his commission. Completely unprofessional. He cannot seem to work anywhere without problems.

  6. We need police and they need our support 24/7 but bad officers like bad laws help no one and need the boot for like drug dealers or molesters on the playground can destroy a life in the blink of an eye

    At times police get it wrong as we all do but is this one of those times it seems that the Body and dash video units that were supposed to help police take bad people off the streets are doing just that.

    Police officer has no right to use words or act as he did and for his police chief to act as if the officer was doing his job and this man was out of control at best poor police work and at worst a molester out of control and a first class disservice to all that work in the job and put their life on the line each day

    Its a first class slap in the face of all vets like those in WW2 who never made it off the beaches on D Day and last but not lease to our Foundering Fathers who risk life and limb for Freedom from a out of control Government / King and his Police / Redcoats who did as they wish in the name of the LAW

    We need police and for good reason but after the death of Mr. Brown and body video units have become SOP for many police units officers who have abused their power from incidents like this to the shooting have been put on the forefront of the news and can no longer hide as they once did

    At times all we can do is work for a better world for those to come like our Foundering Fathers, Dr. King, the three kids killed in Mississippi by the KKK did for if not our streets could become a no man’s land was Hop, Trust Respect and Dreams did a slow death

    For when those in power abuse it we all lose one could wonder if this officer and police chiff thank his words would be ok in a school setting like Sandy Hook or have no place in a school

    Less hope this video helps other officer to become better officer for we need police and they need our support 24/7

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