Deputy threatens reporter to stop covering news story

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Jackson Co. deputy demands NEA Report stop covering prosecutor’s mistakes with ominous message

JONESBORO, Ark. – A Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy sent threatening messages to NEA Report on Tuesday afternoon about our continued reporting of the unjust prosecution of a Walnut Ridge railroad worker.

It is one of many instances of police showing resentment toward our reporting of the blatant police and governmental abuses of power. However, it is the first such time a member of law enforcement has sent us an ominous message threatening this reporter should our work continue.

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“So before you continue to publicly condemn Mr. Cooper or Mr. Henry Boyce. You better make sure you have never made a mistake in your life.” – Excerpt from message sent by Jackson County Deputy Sheriff Adam Zitzelberger to NEA Report

Here are the messages, beginning at 12:17 PM Tuesday afternoon, March 5, 2019.

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Jackson County Deputy Adam Zitzelberger falls under the jurisdiction of the Third Judicial District Prosecutor Henry Boyce and his deputy prosecutor, Ryan Cooper. Zitzelberger’s (since deactivated) Facebook profile listed him as having worked in not just one, but two different counties under Boyce’s purview – the other being Lawrence County, where the police abuse story he contacted us about happened. The Jackson County deputy demanded we stop publicly “condemning” Cooper because, “He’s a great person and a great Prosecuting Attorney.” The statements, which do not correlate, display the complete absence of logic from the deputy. Also, NEA Report hasn’t published a story on the matter since last month.

However, the deputy himself even admits Cooper made a mistake by prosecuting an innocent man to a not-guilty verdict.

But, the deputy’s intentions were clear: stop reporting on the deputy prosecutor’s mistake or else.

“So before you continue to publicly condemn Mr. Cooper or Mr. Henry Boyce. You better make sure you have never made a mistake in your life.

Deputy Zitzelberger’s implication was that, should we continue exercising our First Amendment rights, we will likely face criminal charges the first opportunity an officer gets to bring them. We tried getting the deputy to explain himself but he shifted blame in his conversation to the Walnut Ridge police chief, who has since resigned.

The deputy then denied sending threats to the reporter from his very same account two messages later. He claimed he was only asking questions. He then deactivated his account.

“I did not threaten you or anybody,” Deputy Zitzelberger wrote. “I was simply asking a question.”


NEA Report is forwarding the messages to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and to NEA Report legal counsel. 

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5 Comments

  1. I am Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. And I’m a dumbass. Instead of letting a story die, I poured gasoline on the Fire. You would think that the best way to get rid of a news reporter is to ignore him. But Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is not known its intelligence. Instead they give more evidence against themselves. Just shutup already and the story dies…. but no we have to give stan his soap box. No offense stan
    Saracasm is meant here.

  2. Keep on reporting… this court room and Ryan cooper do alot that is wrong in that court room..to innocent people..so glad you are staying on this.. I have seen some things I felt should have been reported on Mr cooper and the judge in this court room and cause them to be investigated.. your doing a great job…Thank you.

  3. Keep Rocking on Stan!! You and NEA Report is the only way that we can learn the “real” news…that which would never be heard or reported by those “others” Also, there is a Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (www.clest.org) that you can report officers to as well. They don’t play when it comes to officer’s not conducting themselves in a professional manner.

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