The Little Rock police department released copies of dash camera footage of a traffic stop that led to the arrests of state Rep. John Walker, 79, for obstructing governmental operations, a charge later dropped.
UPDATE: We've posted excerpts of the dash footage above.
They footage released today comes from four cameras and include an extended amount of filming as two teams of officers — each with a trainee — handle the traffic stop of a car without a license. The driver and a passenger en route to a doctor's appointment had outstanding minor warrants.
Walker walks up during the stop and begins filming with a cell phone from across the street, an activity noticed by cops on the scene, some of whom know Walker. In time, two officers cross the street to ask Walker what he's doing and why. He identified himself but said he didn't need to explain his actions. Officers explained the traffic stop and said the driver was being treated with "total respect." They also said they agreed he had a right to observe.
The conversation grew heated, however, as Walker explained his interest in treatment of black suspects and made reference to police use of deadly force. That raised the ire of an officer who asked if Walker had ever been a police officer. He questioned whether Walker understood the challenges police face. One officer called Walker a "race baiter" and asked if he'd be interested if police had stopped a white person. The officer said Walker had been trying to film police for years and was just trying to provoke.
Film in another patrol car, taking the driver to jail, has audio of an older officer telling a younger black female officer who'd made the stop about Walker: "His main purpose was to be arrested." Walker, he said, had been "a thorn in the side of the police department" since he joined the force.
The treatment of the people originally stopped seemed calm, even amiable. Officers tried to look for a way around jailing of the man who used a wheelchair, hoping to just issue a citation.
Walker has rejected an apology for the arrest and Police Chief Kenton Buckner has said he anticipates a lawsuit over the encounter. The department is investigating officers' actions in the case. The city has maintained the obstruction charge against Omavi Kushukuru (or Shukur). He is alleged to have walked between the patrol car that made the initial stop and the car in which two people were found to have warrants.
A female officer in a later arriving unit said somebody walked from across the street into the scene of the stop.
Federal Judge Brian Miller has affirmed his decision to dismiss the city of Little Rock and former Police Chief Stuart Thomas as defendants in a lawsuit brought by the mother of Bobby Moore, killed by then-Office Josh Hastings in 2012. /more/
House Bill 1222 would be funded through a tax-credit scholarship in which individuals and corporations could donate to a nonprofit organization that would provide money to parents seeking a private or home school education for their children. /more/
Hey, hey. The legislature took a break beating up on poor people today. The House Judiciary Committee advanced on a voice vote a bill that would have Arkansas opt out of a section in President Clinton's sweeping 1996 welfare reform law. /more/
The House Thursday failed by one contested vote to pass SB 308 to force public school districts to sell or lease vacant school buildings to charter schools. It will likely get another vote and enjoys powerful backing. /more/
Late last week, the attorney for the plaintiff in the lawsuit over former Police Officer Josh Hastings' killing of a car burglary suspect asked for a rehearing of Judge Brian Miller's finding that the city and a former police chief could not be liable in the case. /more/
An Arkansas House committee has approved Governor Hutchinson's plan to alter the funding formula for higher education. The House Education Committee advanced a bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle) on Tuesday that would send state dollars to public colleges and universities based on performance. The state now awards colleges and universities money mostly based on enrollment. /more/
Federal Judge Brian Miller has affirmed his decision to dismiss the city of Little Rock and former Police Chief Stuart Thomas as defendants in a lawsuit brought by the mother of Bobby Moore, killed by then-Office Josh Hastings in 2012.
Tens of thousands of Arkansans have been kicked off of Medicaid for failure to respond to an income verification letter. Many of them are eligible for the program according to the very data that triggered the letter in the first place.
The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
KARK reports that police shot a man in an alley behind Ernie Biggs on Clinton Avenue in the River Market district about 2 a.m. today. His condition was not known, but initial reports said he was in surgery.