Friday, October 13, 2017

LRPD RELUCTANT TO RELEASE VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDINGS OF INCIDENT INVOLVING REV. BENNY JOHNSON - FOR GOOD REASON, TO AVOID EMBARASSMENT



After reviewing a dozen DVD's the Little Rock Police Department had to be forced to release, we can understand why they did not want them to get out into the light of day.

They reveal officers as over-worked and beleaguered to the point of questioning their choice of profession – one actually makes that comment.   

Another claims that after finding out who Rev. Johnson was and another man that also called in to report shots fired (also a preacher living in a nearby neighborhood) that it was a “set up.” 

One that knew Rev. Johnson was too embarrassed (or afraid) to go talk to him. 

Officers also state that one officer overreacted and got all the others stirred up. 

After the fact, the one officer that yelled out “gun” and almost got Rev. Johnson shot, claimed Johnson was “standing in the window with a bunch of weapons just chillin’.”

It is our opinion that if Rev. Johnson had not backed away from the window when they heard the one officer shout “gun”, and they all shined lights on his window, he would have been shot had he moved what the officer thought was a gun away from his head.

One interesting thing is that one reason LRPD was not going to release  two videos to us initially (which turned out to be many more) was because they claimed they contained personnel information. 

City Attorney Tom Carpenter said the "personnel information"  was a personnel number.  

One of the videos actually has an officer state his personnel number over the radio to someone and it was not masked in the DVD provided to use after a two day battle to get LRPD to cooperate and release the videos pursuant to a Freedom of Information request

One video did have the audio drop out for 8 minutes, and we believe it was due to the officer turning off his microphone to avoid having the conversation recorded.

We are in the process of making a video from the 12 DVD's and one CD of the 911 calls and subsequent radio traffic so that you can see and hear it all for yourself.

It was from that radio traffic (and a list of officers that had been given to Rev. Johnson the day following his avoidable experience) that we realized we had not been given all the video/audio recordings of the officers that responded.

Here is how this saga unfolded.

We sent a FOI request to LRPD on October the 8th, after they claimed that they busted down a communal hallway door believing that a man was trying to kill himself. They had mistaken a cellphone for a handgun and the man they saw was Rev. Johnson - one of the individuals that had called 911 after hearing multiple gunshots.


LRPD sent this response.


We sent this back.


Then LRPD sent this.

Yes, apparently Sgt. Prater is not tech-savvy. So we sent this.


Apparently LRPD was concerned that we might have some malicious software on a DVD that would damage their DVD duplicator.  Readers will recall a similar request we made last month in which we called out the city on their BS.  You can read about that by clicking here, here and here.

Our email must have gotten the point across, or perhaps it was the telephone conversion we had with city attorney Carpenter.


So the next day we attempted to copy the DVD but it was going to take hours so we left DVD's for LRPD to burn us copies. We were able to copy a CD of the 911 calls and radio traffic.

The following day, we received notification that the DVD's were ready and we asked for some missing documents (which we have never received) 


After viewing the video's we found that one appeared to have been cut off in mid sentence.

 Then we received an email from Carpenter.


We told Carpenter there was still information sought that had not been provided.

And this email showed up.

And we sent this back.

 
That got things ramped up a bit and we got a reach-around from KTB.


Then another telephone conversation with our friend Tom took place. Short sory is that he agreed that under the AFOIA, LRPD had to release those DVD's and remove exempt material (those pesky personnel numbers) from non-exempt material.

And then we received this. We laughed so hard we almost sharted.


Why LRPD and the city fights so hard to hide the things they try to hide is very telling about our city leadership. 

We suspect that the city/LRPD expects most folks to just give up.

Not us. We are not most folks and they should know that by now. We are for truth and transparency and we will get it. You can take that to the bank.

#CLEANOUTLRCITYHALL  #TIMEFORCHANCE #EPLURIBUSUNUM #WOKE

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Look for that video to be released next week.  It will be worth the wait.

 

CITY ATTORNEY REFUSES TO ENFORCE CITY CODE IN REGARD TO CARRY OVER FUNDS - KOWTOWS TO MAYOR AND BOARD TO MAINTAIN STATUS QUO

TOM CARPENTER - CITY ATTORNEY AND CAPTAIN OF TEAM STODOLA

Little Rock Municipal Ordinance Sec.2-389 requires candidates for any municipal office to divest themselves of any funds collected during a campaign within 30 days after a general election.


Mayor Mark Stodola has kept funds, in an interest bearing account, carried over from his last campaign for office.  Those funds total somewhere around $78,000.


At a recent board meeting where the matter of exploratory committees formed by two possible mayoral candidates was discussed, at large Director Joan Adcock complained about individuals allegedly breaking the law by campaigning and raising funds a year before the election. 


 

Ms. Adcock needs to tone down her rhetoric as the city code does not prohibit campaigning, simply the raising of funds.



Adcock was re-elected  in 2016 to her sixth term. Guess she  is concerned about that 2020 election and individuals that might try and unseat her.



"It would not be fair to you [directors whose term ends in 2018] if in the next week or two people start campaigning and raising funds to run against you and you can't do it until next June because that what our rules say", harped Adcock.

As she is on so many thing, Adcock is wrong with this. As previously stated, fund raising for a municipal office is time limited, but there is no prohibition against campaigning prior to an election.

Adcock mentioned that she followed the city code and gave away any left over or surplus funds she had after each campaign.

Several other directors echoed Adcock's fear of competitors. 

At large Director Gene Fortson who was re-elected to a third term in 2016 (set to expire in 2020), has an active website soliciting contributions.  You can visit Fortson's site by clicking here.


Fortson stated that the process that begins in June of an election year "...allows a lot of adequate time to raise funds and get out and get the message across."

So why does he still have a active web page soliciting contributions? Early preparation for the 2020 election? Google the word hypocrisy Gene and take down that website that violates the city code.

Director Doris Wright chimed in and stated that she "was in favor of campaigning for positions to start in June because she did not want to have to focus on that [campaigning] for a whole year."



Director Capi Peck stated that she agreed with everybody.




Director Lane Hines remarked that he had followed the law and donated his left over funds to charity. Way to go Lance.
 
But you can bet he won't be doing that next go round.

As usual, Director Erma Hendricks had the best and most on-point comment, she said "we are running like we are scared... if you are thinking about running, just get busy."



All of this leads to this purpose of this post, on Tuesday the publisher of this blog hand delivered a complaint about Mayor Stodola's flagrant violation of a city code in regard to his keeping carry over funds from a previous campaign to the office of the city attorney.  



Click here to view the full complaint.

The publisher met with someone in the city attorney's office that offered this chair to sit in.




The chair looked like someone had crapped their pants while sitting in it.  Our publisher decided to stand.

We can't be sure but it is possible that the employee might be sleeping in her messy office as well.




City Attorney Tom Carpenter was unavailable and the complaint was taken to pass on to him.

Carpenter sent a response to the publisher of this blog and you can read the whole thing by clicking here.





Carpenter agreed that such a carry over is a violation of the city code but said that state law does not allow the city to enforce it because it does not provide the city power to impose such limits on campaign money.  He pointed out that he said as much back in 2010.

Then why is the law still on the books? Why are city directors still complying with the law?
 
This is not the first time Mayor Stodola has violated the law and failed to give away such funds.




As the Arkansas Times pointed out:
A request to the city clerk for records regarding the contributions Stodola made with those funds turned up records that indicated that the amount given away was only $3,700.





Maybe Mayor Stodola should give some of his campaign booty to From His Throne Ministry and some of the other organizations that have come before the city board to request funds from the city.

That would be the righteous and honorable thing to do so it probably won't happen.




It is time for drastic changes in Little Rock city government. Make you vote count next year.

#CLEANOUTLRCITYHALL  #TIMEFORCHANGE  #EPLURIBUSUNUM  #WOKE

Sunday, October 8, 2017

ROCK REGION METRO WANTS TO HIRE A SECOND PUBLIC RELATIONS STAFF MEMBER TO TEACH INDIVIDUALS HOW TO RIDE A BUS

In the September 29th edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, there was an article that detailed how Rock River Metro is asking the City of Little Rock for 9 million dollars to cover lost fare revenue for 2018.


According to Rock Region interim director Wanda Crawford, she also wants to hire an second marketing person (and fund it out of the 9 million) to teach people how to ride a bus. We are not pulling your leg, read it yourself.


We called Crawford and she confirmed that she wants to hire a person to "teach people how to ride a bus."

WANDA CRAWFORD - INTERIM DIRECTOR ROCK RIVER METRO

Apparently Crawford has lost her mind.  If you need to have it explained to you how to ride a bus, you probably don't have any business riding one anyway. At least not without a keeper. Her normal position is that of finance director and that might need to be looked into by the agencies that Rock Region Metro is accountable to.

At any given time of the day you are only likely to find one or two riders on any bus - except for rush hours then you midnight find half a dozen or so. And ridership is declining.

Crawford blames it on lower gas prices. We think that as as around 60% of the individuals that work in Little Rock come from outside the city, that probably has more to do with declining ridership than anything else. For the workers in the city, they have a mean travel time to work of only 18.7 minutes and you will wait around longer to catch the bus than it will take you to drive to work. Plus there is the added convenience of being able to go someplace for lunch of run errands.

In 2016 voters in Little Rock overwhelmingly defeated a tax increase to raise some 18 million in funds. And the city was not willing to fork over an additional $71,000 to keep the free trolley rides that had been offered this summer going in 2018.


Being the civic minded publication that we are, our staff developed this simple, yet effective guide that Rock Region Metro can use to educate potential riders.
 




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Take a look at this matter being discussed that the last Little Rock Board of Director's meeting.















Saturday, October 7, 2017

$198K HANDED OUT IN BONUS PAYMENTS TO NEW COPS SO FAR BY CITY MANAGER BRUCE MOORE - ANOTHER $290K AWAITS NEWEST RECRUIT CLASS

CITY MANAGER BRUCE MOORE LOOTED UNUSED PAYROLL FUNDS TO GIVE SIGNING BONUSES

In previous posts, we revealed the names of two white recruits that left employment as police officers shortly after receiving a signing bonus from City Manager Bruce Moore and that Moore refused to address questions concerning the sign bonuses and his lack of judgment in not developing a policy regarding those no strings attached signing bonuses. 

You can read out previous posts by clicking here and here

Moore has claimed that these funds are not signing bonuses even though he stated that they were on TV and newspapers stories.

It turns out that the signing bonuses are not $5k, but actually much larger, $7,513.15 to be exact. 

That figure was revealed in a FOI response from the city (see second image of Excel Spreadsheet).


 



And to avoid having to go through several board hearings on legitimating the signing bonus for new police officer recruits, an unlikely events as several directors have harped in recent months about city employees not getting raises - especially ones in the sanitation department, Moore looted unused payroll funds that were budgets for police officers.

Moore was so sure of himself that he didn't bother to develop policy or procedures regarding the signing bonus, a standard business practice, and just handed out the money with a smile on his face.

We suspect that when the two officers took the money and ran, he was wishing that he had thought out his plan a little more thoroughly. 

Little Rock is needing police officers so badly that they will play fast and loose with public funds, allow officers to use patrol cars (fuel provided) to drive to and from work (remember most all the officers live outside Little Rock - one as far as Malvern). not issue them tickets while on or off-duty.

We need new city leadership and changes on the Board of Directors.
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

NOTED ACTIVIST MAKES SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST LRPD - CHIEF BUCKNER FILPPANTLY SAYS FILE A COMPLAINT



NOTED ACTIVIST REV. BENNY JOHNSON NARROWLY ESCAPED INJURY AFTER MAKING 911 CALL



In a story that first appeared on the blog Corruption Sucks, Reverend Benny Johnson heard gunfire outside his residence on October 1, 2017 and called 911 to report it. 

Rev. Johnson then called the property manger to advise her that LRPD was on it's way and heard additional gunfire.

Rev. Johnson while still on the phone went to look out the widow to see if LRPD had arrived and that's when the real ordeal began. Let's  watch Rev. Johnson's detailed narrative of what happened next.



The previous incident that Rev. Johnson made reference to in the video happen just a couple of weeks ago.



LRPD officers claimed that that man "took a shooting stance" and "appeared to have a gun in his hand" according to initial reports.

Turns out that it was only a cellphone.  

Now we are not saying that the man shot back in September was without some responsibility, but a thin rectangular object looks nothing like a handgun.



So you can see why Rev. Johnson had some concern.  LRPD officers saw him standing in the widow and mistook his small Blackberry smartphone for a handgun being held up to his head. 
 

REV. JOHNSON WITH HIS PHONE AS IT WAS THE NIGHT OF THE INCIDENT


It is even more problematic for LRPD when one of the officers that responded to Rev. Johnson's call was one of the same officers that thought a cellphone was a gun and fired back in September. Is it a coincidence that they mistook a cellphone for a handgun again or is it a pattern of behavior?  That is something that only an external investigation can resolve.



 As the story that appeared in today's edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed, beleaguered LRPD Chief Kenton Tremar Buckner tossed the responsibility to initiate an investigation back onto Rev. Johnson instead of taking a proactive step and ordering one himself. 






CHIEF KENTON TREMAR BUCKNER


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There is an interesting take on this as alluded to in the Corruption Sucks post. Is there an effort to retaliate against those who voice concerns about LPRD and the system's failure to take action?

A shocking story we will have posted in the coming days seems to indicate that there is something to what Corruption Sucks blog is saying.

Stay tuned.