Tuesday, September 15, 2015

State Police issues statement on Jason Rapert 'threats'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 4:22 PM

click to enlarge TALKING TALL: Sen. Jason Rapert's bellicosity over being asked a question at a Conway store inspired Internet satire such as this.
  • TALKING TALL: Sen. Jason Rapert's bellicosity over being asked a question at a Conway store inspired Internet satire such as this.
Sen. Jason Rapert has been in even a more excitable state than normal  since we reported his veiled threat to pull a gun on someone who asked him a question he didn't like in a Lowe's parking lot. And then there was our subsequent reporting on the investigations into the "threats" he said he's received via social media that have made him feel skittish and in need of armaments.

We noted that the State Police and other law agencies, including the Conway police had devoted untold hours to investigating communications Rapert had received. We reported that the messages were profane and inflammatory and in some cases made mention of a desire to see harm done to Rapert and kin. But we also quoted State Police spokesman Bill Sadler as saying that all police agencies had concluded none of the communications amounted to "credible threats" of "imminent harm."

We also reported that  Rapert has claimed law enforcement agencies had urged him to take his family out of state. Records we received under the Freedom of Information Act indicated no such thing and the State Police said they had issued no such suggestion.

David Koon is writing more this week in our print edition about the pages of FOI material we received about Rapert's social media communications. It will include his thoughts that we've been erroneous about all that I've recapitulated above.

Development this afternoon: A statement from the State Police spokesman Sadler:

Last week when I responded to your public records request for emails associated with the investigation of threats directed against Senator Jason Rapert, it was my intention for the content of the records to answer any questions relating to how the investigation began and ended.

In the interest of transparency and being cooperative, I entertained a single question posed by Max, “Can you summarize the findings of the Arkansas State Police”.

I answered the question simply. “There was no credible threat”.

Keeping my answer to a limited number of words was probably not an accurate representation of the investigation as a whole.

Since that statement was issued I’ve learned that the law enforcement agencies that were initially involved treated the threats as being credible, which is a matter of routine by any law enforcement procedure standards. In other words, whenever a reported threat is received by police from the person who is the intended target, the threat must be considered credible.

Based on these facts, I’m submitting to you (copied below) a paragraph for an accurate representation of the facts to be included in my summary of the findings of this investigation.

Upon receipt of the threat information in February 2013 from Senator Jason Rapert, as in all threat investigations, the threats were treated as credible threats by all law enforcement agencies involved in the in the investigation. The law enforcement agencies discussed preventative security measures with Senator Rapert while these threats were being properly investigated.

I asked a followup to Sadler:

The lack of pursuit of charges would indicate that no agency found a credible threat of imminent harm to Rapert in any of the threats?

He responded:

I believe you’ll find the answer to your question within the files provided to you last week.

Can I boil this down? What I wrote was correct.  I dug up records by an FOI request after Rapert started spinning contradictory stories on TV to cover his bad behavior following the great Lowe's parking lot incident. Rapert reported threats. Police treated them seriously at the outset. They invested many manhours running them down. In the end, nobody was charged with a crime, concrete indication that none was deemed a threat of immediate harm to the senator or his family. The FOI materials, indeed, reflect some police concern that Rapert was mistaking political speech for threats. One threat about wishing to see Rapert shot came from a federal prisoner, in no position to deliver. Another came from a source, as best police could determine, from somewhere overseas.

Rapert has always been a bully. Fearfulness is a familiar trait among bullies.

I suspect Rapert has been on a tear bullying people to get somebody in law enforcement to cover for him on what was yet another intemperate Rapert  rear-end display. The State Police, led by a director appointed by a governor from the same party as Rapert, provided him a piece of gauze today. It's insufficient to the task of covering Rapert's flaming rear.

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