Police identify officer in shooting, say he fired to prevent shooting | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Police identify officer in shooting, say he fired to prevent shooting

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 4:55 PM

click to enlarge DENNIS HUTCHINS: Fired fatal shot Monday night.
  • DENNIS HUTCHINS: Fired fatal shot Monday night.
The Little Rock Police Department said today that Officer Dennis Hutchins had shot Roy Richards, 46, Monday night because he feared Richards was about to shoot his uncle, with whom he'd been arguing.

Richards apparently was carrying a pellet gun.

The police had not released Hutchins' name previously, in keeping with practice of withholding the names of officers who use deadly force for a period after an incident. He is on paid leave during the investigation, along with another officer, not yet identified, who witnessed the shooting but did not fire a gun.

This was the account supplied this afternoon of the fatal shooting about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday in the 500 block of East Eighth Street:

Officers were dispatched to 514 E. 8th at 12;37 A.M. The first call said an unknown black man in a dark-colored SUV was causing a disturbance. En route, officers were told the man was outside the residence with a long gun.

Once officers arrived on scene, they observed two black males fighting in the front yard of 514 E. 8th Street. As officers approached, the two males stopped fighting and Richards walked to the dark colored SUV out of the view of the officers, and the other black male stood near the front steps. Once Richards came back into officers’ view, they observed Richards begin to chase the other black male while pointing a long gun at his back. At that point, Officer Dennis Hutchins stated that he fired multiple rounds at Richards from his authorized service weapon, striking Richards, because he believed that Richards was going to shoot the other black male in the back. Officers recovered a weapon at the scene that Richards was holding at the time of the shooting and pointing at the victim.
A brief police account yesterday identified Richards' uncle, Derrell Underwood, who lives on East Eighth, as the man with whom Richards had a dispute.

A tribute to Hutchins on the LRPD Facebook page a year ago said  that he'd served the department for almost 15 years (he started in January 2001) and was a Marine veteran of service in Iraq.

The police have so far declined to identify the type of weapon Richards reportedly was carrying. They've also responded to questions about the number of shots, the distance from the suspect and whether any warnings were issued by saying these matters are part of the investigation.

A police spokesman said the prosecutor had asked that police not identify the type of weapon taken, but multiple sources say it is a pellet gun.

I have asked the LRPD for a report on instances in which Hutchins has used force as an officer, if any. Michael Laux, a lawyer who has sued LRPD over police force, said Hutchins' record includes complaints. A police spokesman said he was aware of one suspension on Hutchins' record — which I've requested under FOI — but he said it related not to use of force but to inadequate investigation of a vehicle accident in 2011.

Laux said his own investigation of officer conduct throughout the department included a complaint against Hutchins for "sustained profanity/taunting" in 2006 and an accusation of evidence planting that same year. He was also cited for turning off his mobile video recorder on several occasions. Laux said his records showed complaints of excessive use of force on five occasions in 2005, 2006 and 2007, but a record of only one suspension, that mentioned by the police spokesman. Records of all complaints on use of force are kept as a matter of policy whether found to be justified or not. I don't know if any of these were sustained short of the one suspension. Only complaints that result in suspension or firing or open to inspection under the FOI, but Laux said he'd received further documents through discovery requests in his federal court lawsuits. Laux added in a comment Nov. 1 that his records, while accurate at the point they were received, were not necessarily up to date. As of Nov. 1, the LRPD still has not provided documents to which the public IS entitled about officer complaints on use of force and suspensions, if any.

SEIZED WEAPON: This was gun police say suspect carried before he was fatally shot.
  • SEIZED WEAPON: This was gun police say suspect carried before he was fatally shot.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation