LRPD suspends officer who complained about racial slur in recruit's Facebook post | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

LRPD suspends officer who complained about racial slur in recruit's Facebook post

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 11:10 AM

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The Little Rock Police Department has continued punishing black officers involved in the reporting of a white police recruit's use of a racial slur on Facebook.

Sgt. Willie Davis, who is vice president of the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association, was suspended Monday for 10 days the LRPD confirmed. The police will not comment on the reason — citing personnel matters. (I've requested all files that resulted in the suspension.)

But, according to multiple sources, the suspension resulted from Davis, and the BPOA, writing a complaint about a 2013 Facebook post made by white recruit Brandon Schiefelbein  — in which, under a photo of a sleeping black man, Schiefelbein wrote "Go night night nigga. Go night night" — instead of reporting it to a supervisor.

The BPOA complaint was made public by blogger Russ Racop.

Davis' suspension follows the firing of the black police recruit Brandon Gurley, who first complained directly to Schiefelbein via Facebook about the message. (Schiefelbein took down the post, said it was a quote of a comedian used with a photo of a fellow soldier who did not object and apologized. Gurley accepted the apology.) The reason Gurley was fired? Because he, a black man, also used the n-word on Facebook.

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Here's how that logic came into play. Schiefelbein hired a lawyer once the post was made public: Robert Newcomb. Then Newcomb, in a back-and-forth with the city said: 1) his client was quoting Kevin Hart; and 2) Gurley also used the racial slur on Facebook. "If it is conduct unbecoming for one, it would be conduct unbecoming for the other," Newcomb said.

So, LRPD fired both Gurley and Schiefelbein.

Davis has often been publicly critical of the department — including letters calling out LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner. We interviewed him recently about community policing for our cover story on a policy of increased traffic stops compared by some to stop-and-frisk.

"We have a lot of good officers; we do. I think 98 percent of the time we get it right," [Davis] said. "But there's a small degree. And, there's a few that will never accept the idea of community policing. In some cases it may be a person that acts as a leader — that may be a leader." Davis was among the Black Police Officers Association members to criticize Chief Buckner.

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