Investigation started in Cherryvale after officer accused of using excessive force on a minor
Sergeant Pete Simmons not currently on active duty.
CHERRYVALE, Kan. – 15-year-old Cherryvale resident Jayden Wyant is a typical teenager. She likes hanging out with friends and enjoys art and sports.
“I just do cheer and volleyball just a ton. I’m working on getting better at those,” says Wyant.
“She’s a straight-A student. She just doesn’t get in trouble… other than the normal almost 16-year-old drama,” says Jayden’s Mother Jenna Jones.
But on August 6th, she was confronted by an officer with the Cherryvale Police Department. But she says she wasn’t doing anything wrong.
The Cherryvale Police Department says there was a fight that happened early in the day on the 6th at Logan Park, and that Sergeant Pete Simmons was investigating.
He went to the park that evening when Wyant and a group of other girls — all in their teens — were there and tried to talk to 12-year-old Kahmaya Metzger, who was believed to have seen the fight, and 11-year-old Olivia Andrews.
“I could tell that Olivia was getting uncomfortable, and so was Kahmaya. So, I was like hey, you don’t have to talk to them without a parent here. They’re 11, you know what I mean?” says Wyant.
Cell phone video recorded by another girl in the group shows Simmons arguing with Wyant, where he can be heard saying, “Don’t tell me you don’t have to talk to me without your mother present, cause yes you do.” In the video, Wyant replies, “I know my rights.” And Simmons says, “What is your right Jayden?” After the exchange, Simmons grabbed Wyant by both arms, moved her off of the bench she was sitting on, and then took her to the side of his patrol car. None of the girls heard him say whether or not she was being detained.
“And then I just stood there with my hands up cause I didn’t know if I was being detained or arrested or whatever. So I wasn’t gonna move,” says Wyant.
Once they were at the car, Simmons stepped away from Wyant and approached 12-year-old Kierstyn Wilson, who was recording the incident on her cell phone.
“I guess he got mad that I was recording, so he got up in my face and started like waving his phone in my face,” says Wilson.
After that, he told the girls to leave the park because it was closed.
“I didn’t move because I didn’t know what he was doing with me. Then he pushed me and he said the park is closed and that was the end of that, and we all left,” says Wyant.
Wyant says she thankfully didn’t get hurt but doesn’t understand why the altercation happened at all.
“I felt that it was very unnecessary. We weren’t yelling at him or like.. I felt like I wasn’t saying disrespectful comments like you see on the internet towards cops. So I didn’t really understand why it escalated that fast and that quickly and towards me,” says Wyant.
And now, Jones has filed a complaint with the Cherryvale Police Department and plans to press charges with the ultimate goal of getting Simmons removed from the force.
“If she had threatened him in any manner if she had spit in his face… that would be justification for how he grabbed her. I would’ve totally understood that. I get that,” says Jones. “But what I saw, there was no justification for it, and I was irate that somebody would put their hands on my child in that way.”
And Wyant wants to make it clear that this hasn’t changed her perspective of the law enforcement in her community.
“People are worried that I think that all cops are bad. But I’ve dealt with some really good cops, so I’m not against cops,” says Wyant. “I mean, you’re gonna get involved with bad officers, so no, I don’t think all cops are bad.”
“I think the most important thing that I want to do through all of this is just to get the juveniles and the parents and the police officers to work better together,” says Jones. “Because if he would have called me, I’m a reasonable parent. I would have taken care of that. If she was being disrespectful, I’m going to take care of that. We need a better relationship. Because this didn’t have to happen.”
Cherryvale Police Chief Jimmy Holt says he has requested the Kansas Bureau of Investigations take lead on the investigation. He also says that Simmons is not currently on active duty. He was not able to comment on what happened, since there is an open investigation.
The video in its entirety can be seen below. The audio has been edited to remove profanity.