Governor plans Central Arkansas 'law enforcement' announcement | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Governor plans Central Arkansas 'law enforcement' announcement

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 6:00 PM

BANGING IN LR: Shooting at this rapper's concert seems likely at the root of a gubernatorial press conference tomorrow.
  • BANGING IN LR: Shooting at this rapper's concert seems likely at the root of a gubernatorial press conference tomorrow.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to "discuss new partnerships with local law enforcement in central Arkansas."

Dollar-to-doughnut wager: This is about recent violence in Little Rock.

Mayor Mark Stodola said he'd talked to the governor after the shootout early Saturday at the Prime Ultra Lounge downtown, about a mile east of the Capitol, left 25 with gunshot wounds. Perhaps we need a task force, he suggested.

Huge politics at work here. Hutchinson, a Republican, and Stodola, a Democrat, don't see much eye-to-eye politically, though both are former prosecutors.

Is the state about to commit State Police manpower to keeping the streets of Little Rock safe? That would not exactly be a vote of confidence in the police department in the state's largest city or in its strong mayor. Politically, it might cut into some of the strong resistance Hutchinson has long met in Pulaski County — and Little Rock particularly. The outburst of violence — though heavily concentrated in a couple of related groups (the Darren McFadden family, particularly) and neighborhoods — understandably has many on edge. The push for head-knocking enforcement is gaining momentum. City board talk of PIT money (Prevention, Intervention, Treatment) doesn't enjoy wide appreciation these days.

Questions remain from the Prime shootout.

Off-duty cops were working security. They say the club owners told them to depart at 2 a.m. and so they did. Shooting began 30 minutes later. The bar was still crammed and a rapper with a felony rap sheet, who'd promoted his visit with a gun-toting photograph, was still performing. Might a careful cop have seen a need to hang around? The club had been the scene of violence before, in addition to multiple violations of liquor laws and, if you're counting such trivia, failure to pay business licenses in a timely fashion.

Rapper Finese 2Tymes had an outstanding warrant because, despite a felony robbery record, he allegedly drew down and shot at someone at a Forrest City club last month. How had this escaped law enforcement attention? Why was he arrested Sunday morning in Birmingham and not Saturday morning in Little Rock?

Four days after a shooting in front of dozens of witnesses and no arrests? If witnesses are too afraid to provide information is that on them or on the quality of local policing?

Tomorrow might be an interesting day.

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