Thursday, April 19, 2012

Governor gives surgeon general vote of confidence

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 6:35 AM

JOBS SAFE: Dr. Joe Thompson.
  • JOB'S SAFE: Dr. Joe Thompson.
Gov. Mike Beebe says Surgeon General Joe Thompson's job is safe and that, after viewing tapes of his encounter with Little Rock police, "is not sure that he should have ever been arrested.”

Amen. Thompson is scheduled for trial May 30 for not being properly subservient to a Little Rock cop on the doorstep of his home. The cop had gone to ask Thompson where he got off being rude to a private security guard employed by billionaire Warren Stephens.

Noted: The story link is from Stephens Media. It omits the name of the employer of the security guard who set this event in motion. It is central to the story. Stephens Media is, of course, owned by the same billionaire.

Do officers who work off-duty in private security themselves — as arresting Officer Chris Johannes does — give special treatment to others in the field? Do members of the 45-man Stephens police force — which over the years has augmented security with Little Rock police — get more preferential treatment? Is anybody in public life — or is any other medium owned by Stephens or otherwise? — asking about the Stephens' guard's carrying a firearm that night despite state rules that seem to limit where private security may carry firearms to employer's premises?

Imagine what would happen if you were NOT a Stephens security guard and called the Little Rock police to say the following: "Hey, I was parked on a street in Hillcrest late at night and a guy who lives on the street wanted to know what the hell I was doing working on a computer at his curb. I didn't like the way he talked to me. He was loud and rude. I've left the scene without being harmed in any way, but I wish you'd meet me down the street and then go to his house to make him stop."

This thing's a mess. The prosecutor ought to drop the charges. But a full trial would spread everything on the record — under oath.

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