Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Former Police Chief Sonny Simpson dies

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Former Little Rock Police Chief Walter E. "Sonny" Simpson died this morning of apparent natural causes while driving to lunch, friends say. He was 77.

Simpson, who lives on the western side of Little Rock, was found in his pickup in a ditch on Grassy Drive, just off Lawson Road, about 11:11 a.m., the sheriff's office said. He was unresponsive and taken to Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Simpson was a pivotal figure in Little Rock politics in years past. He joined the department in 1959 and eventually served nine years as chief, from 1977 to 1986. He rose to the post after suing successfully over his demotion to jailer by then-Chief Gale Weeks. Weeks and other department leaders believed Simpson had improperly provided help to attorneys in a broad race discrimination case against the department. Until then, he'd been a department rising star, popular as a public information officer. He started the department's Crime Stoppers program

Simpson was close friends, too, with pharmacist and former Mayor George Wimberly, whose drugstore was a hangout of political people and law officers. Wimberly's filing of a theft charge against a popular police chief whom Simpson had once promoted, Jess F. "Doc" Hale, became another consuming city controversy for a time. People took sides for and against the prosecution of Hale, who committed suicide in 1988. After retirement as a law officer, Simpson devoted some years to turf farming.

Tags: ,


Speaking of Little Rock Police Department, Walter E. "Sonny" Simpson

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Holy war in Eureka Springs over civil rights ordinance

    The owner of the Great Passion Play is organizing an effort to reclaim Eureka Springs for people like him as a reaction to the City Council's adoption of a non-discrimination ordinance that protects gay people, among others.
    • Mar 6, 2015
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016
  • Foster family disputes key statements from Justin Harris

    Craig and Cheryl Hart were the foster parents of the two sisters who were adopted by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha and later "rehomed." The Harts say that the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff due to pressure exerted by Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, on behalf of Justin Harris.
    • Mar 7, 2015

Most Shared

  • Welfare for the wealthy: More reasons to VOTE NO on ISSUE 3

    Voices on the left and right are lifted against Issue 3, the corporate welfare amendment to send tax money to private business and corporate lobbyists.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation