Little Rock anti-violence activist says LRPD pulled gun on him for holding cell phone | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Little Rock anti-violence activist says LRPD pulled gun on him for holding cell phone

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 3:34 PM

click to enlarge Benny Johnson: "I've never been this upset in my life" Johnson is in midle of five at table.
  • Benny Johnson: "I've never been this upset in my life" Johnson is in midle of five at table.
Benny Johnson, the founder of Arkansas Stop the Violence, spoke today about frustrations with the Little Rock Police Department after an officer mistook his cell phone for a firearm and, Johnson says, pointed a gun at him.

"Little Rock Police Department screwed up," Johnson said during a press conference at the Greater Trinity Church of God in Little Rock.

The incident occurred Monday night when LRPD responded to Johnson's 911 call of shots fired at the Pine Garden Apartments. He was inside his apartment and police could see him through a window. According to the police report officers "just barely could make out something black in the mam's hand. From outside the apartment, the way he was holding his hand, it looked as if the man was holding a gun to his head." Officers, thinking a potential suicide was taking place, went into the apartment complex and knocked on Johnson's door. He allowed them to search his apartment, according to the report.

But, Johnson said that the report did mention that officers had their guns drawn and pointed at him when he opened his door.

"We feel that the report gives an accurate account of what took place," Steve Moore, spokesperson for LRPD said in an email.

Johnson blamed Chief Kenton Buckner for creating a culture among police that caused misconduct.

"Chief Buckner you need to get a grip," Johnson said.

There have been growing tensions between Buckner and some members of the Little Rock community, including a harsh critique from the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association.

But, Johnson said this was a tipping point and said that he'd "never been this upset in my life."

He called for the resignation of Chief Kenton Buckner and City Manager Bruce Moore.

"It's time for both of them to go," he said.

The police declined comment on that.

Johnson's group and the police have had sometimes tense relations because of Johnson's assertions that it places more emphasis on crimes in white neighborhoods than black neighborhoods. Buckner disputes that. In an article about Johnson's complaint about this occurrence, Buckner was quoted by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as saying Johnson should file an official complaint if he believes police had mishandled the situation. A police division reviews complaints against police.

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