Black legal group to seek records of Little Rock police brutality against blacks | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Black legal group to seek records of Little Rock police brutality against blacks

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 6:41 AM

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The National Bar Association, a network of African-American lawyers and judges, will seek records of police brutality in 25 cities, including Little Rock. The open records request is described as part of an effort to end police misconduct and brutality that leads to death of unarmed people.

The records requests will be filed beginning Sept. 1 in cities identified as having "an alleged history of police misconduct and brutality cases." The information sought includes the number of people killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested or injured while pursued or in police custody.

The cities: Birmingham, AL, Little Rock, AR, Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; San Jose, CA; Washington, DC; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Kanas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Charlotte, NC; Las Vegas, NV; New York City, NY; Cleveland, OH; Memphis, TN; Philadelphia, PA; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX and Milwaukee, WI.

In addition, according to an Association release, the group will:

… send a “Preservation of Evidence” notice to all necessary entities requesting that they preserve all police officers' raw notes of statements, observations and data collected from the scene of an incident. This request will also require information on the officer specifically involved and all responding officers, as well as the officers’ detail logs from the crime scene, and video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees.

The association will release its findings and submit them to the Justice Department. It will ask investigations of cities identified with problems.

An immediate obstacle in Little Rock will be the police department's historic refusal to release internal review documents related to brutality cases that did not result in a suspension or firing. Only in those cases will the police allow review of personnel records under the law. The department has periodically been accused of disproportionate racial brutality, including in a series of federal complaints over deaths in custody. 

The ACLU also recently issued a report on racially disproportionate "hyper-aggressive" policing in Little Rock, as measured by use of SWAT and other tactics.

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