City Board hearing about crime in Little Rock; suggestions of racially motivated interest | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

City Board hearing about crime in Little Rock; suggestions of racially motivated interest

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 5:38 PM

END THE POLITICS: That was the cry of Benny Johnson.
  • END THE POLITICS: That was the cry of Benny Johnson.
The public comment period on crime is underway at the Little Rock City Board between 5 and 6 p.m. and it's available at littlerock.gov or Comcast Channel 11.

I tuned in time for impassioned comments by Rev. Benny Johnson, leader of Arkansas Stop the Violence, to repeat his complaint that the city gives less priority to neighborhoods south of Interstate 630. He said politics and racism bring more attention to crime in the Heights than in the inner city where black people are being "shot down like wild animals."

click to enlarge 'CROSSED THE TRACKS': Rizelle Aaron suggested a spread of crime outside the inner city inspired a stronger look by city board.
  • 'CROSSED THE TRACKS': Rizelle Aaron suggested a spread of crime outside the inner city inspired a stronger look by city board.
Rizelle Aaron, leader of the NAACP in Arkansas, complimented Police Chief Kenton Buckner and joined Johnson in saying alcohol sales had some impact on problems. But he said he believed the city's interest arose in part because crime had "crossed the tracks" to other neighborhoods. He called for effort to stop the revolving door of criminal offenders back to prison. He said no-tolerance policing was not the answer.

He said a restoration of confidence in police was necessary. How?

"Stop allowing the police to investigate themselves."

Related parties and friends investigate complaints, typically held unfounded, he said. "If you want to restore trust and confidence, you have to start by making the hard decisions." Aaron said the city should give money and time equivalent to what it gives other parts of town.

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