The cost of being Rapert; State Police say they'd do same for anyone | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The cost of being Rapert; State Police say they'd do same for anyone

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM

click to enlarge KEEPING POLICE BUSY: Rapert has prompted extensive investigations of "threats" he said he received on social media. None was found credible, the State Police said, after extensive probes.
  • KEEPING POLICE BUSY: Rapert has prompted extensive investigations of "threats" he said he received on social media. None was found credible, the State Police said, after extensive probes.

I mentioned last night
that I'd received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Police some 256 pages of data detailing the multiple times Sen. Jason Rapert had asked State Police to investigate remarks he perceived to be threatening on Facebook and other media.

A State Police spokesman said yesterday that deep investigations had turned up no "credible" threats of imminent harm to the senator or his family. The documents indicated the senator was told on some occasions that some remarks — though undoubtedly inflammatory or profane, were protected speech. My reporting arose in the context of another example of Rapert's belief that protected speech, when critical, constitutes a threat to him.

Though he continues to dodge questions (unconvincingly) about the precise source, his interview on KATV yesterday made clear that he'd posted a threatening Tweet in response to a man who'd asked him a question at a Lowe's in Conway about politics that he didn't like. Rapert took him to be a supporter of same-sex marriage and that was enough for Rapert to feel threatened and talk of how dangerous it is to "harass" someone who is armed and ready to use his concealed weapon. The veiled threat of use of his weapon has prompted several to complain to law authorities about Rapert's misuse of his concealed carry permit.

But this interested me. The State Police documents show immense staff time by state and local law officers to respond to Rapert over a period of two years. They subpoenaed phone records. They brought in a behavioral analyst. An Iowa state police officer was dispatched to interview the source of one note. Extensive Internet research was done. The records contain no indication of something Rapert has claimed, that the State Police had advised him to send his family out of state in response to threats.

The records are larded with pages of technical data. I hope to boil them down in time to some of the more pertinent complaints, such as when Rapert reported that a correspondent had said he hoped Rapert would have his ass kicked by the Constitution. Good metaphor. Not much of a threat. Rapert seemed particularly upset that people might found out where he lives and does business, though his residency must be filed in public documents to vote and run for office and his place of business is readily available by any number of means, including a handy Google map on the website of his securities business.

But meanwhile, I had a question for the State Police: Would they devote this amount of manpower (including a period of increased patrols of Rapert's house) to someone who is NOT a state senator?

My response from State Police spokesman Bill Sadler:

We would make a note of a threat or perceived threat from anyone, but first of all we'd advise that person to be cautious in inflaming a situation by making another post that might cause that person to come back at you with possibly a more credible threat.

But we will work closely with local law enforcement and yes we'd work with local law enforcement on any threat until we could rule out any credible threat of harm.

Legal commentary from a defense lawyer:

Maybe the Conway Sheriff of Chief or the PD will decide that Rapert is a danger to the community based on his public threats to use his concealed handgun on anybody who dares "petition government for redress of grievances."

Wishful thinking, the lawyer admits.

Tags: , , , ,


Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Ethics Commission to review illegal contribution to Leslie Rutledge

    Blue Hog Report says that the Ethics Commission has confirmed it will investigate what appears to be a clear ethics law violation he found in Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's campaign records — a May 21 contribution of $2,700 from the Republican Attorneys General Association eight days before the PAC was registered in the state.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • Jared Henderson calls on Hutchinson administration to stop 'demeaning' teachers

    Jared Henderson, the Democratic candidate for governor, has blasted the move by Education Commissioner Johnny Key to weaken job protection for certain Little Rock School District teachers. He says it's of a piece with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's "empty rhetoric" about education.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • Tuesday: News roundup and open line

    Here's the open line. Also today's news and comment.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hospitality, restaurant groups oppose bathroom bill

    Add the restaurant and hospitality association to those opposed to Sen. Linda Collins-Smith's bill to keep transgender people out of public restrooms that match their gender identity.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation