The Little Rock police protect their own | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Little Rock police protect their own

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 6:29 AM

OFFICER SECRETS: Chief Stuart Thomas guards details on actions by his force.
  • OFFICER SECRETS: Chief Stuart Thomas guards details on actions by his force.
These have not been good days for the Little Rock police department, recently gifted with millions of dollars by taxpayers for service expansion.

1) The city apparently will fight to the last gasp in court to keep from revealing what it finds in review of any officers who use force in arrests. The latest illustration is the case of Lt. David Hudson, who punched out then arrested a bar patron while working private security, his fourth recorded occasion to use force. He's never been held to have acted improperly by the police and those uses of force may well have been proper. But if the police won't reveal internal details of reviews of such use of force, there is no public accountability and no assurance that brutalized citizens are getting a fair shake from the Little Rock police department. "Trust us," is not accountability.

2) Then there's the case of Assistant Police Chief Carlos Corbin, allowed to slip quietly into retirement, with party, after a curious late-night wreck. Even Chief Stuart Thomas says the circumstances described by Corbin don't wash. Thomas is clearly sitting on completion of the investigation until Corbin retires. That's shameful. But more shameful still is the assertion that the investigation may not be open to public review because it constitutes a personnel record that is open to the public under our flawed Freedom of Information Act only in cases of suspension or firing. Corbin isn't going to be suspended or fired because the police took care to sit on his investigation until he was beyond the reach of such job actions.

Think about this: Under this screwy interpretation of the law offered up by cops yesterday, an investigation of a cop accused of robbing a convenience store while on duty could be construed as a personnel record and not subject to public review.

Do actions like this deserve your tax money? I don't think so.

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