by Max Brantley
FROM BILL LAWSON
filed the official complaint today with the Arkansas State Police's internal affairs unit. They interviewed me for 45 minutes. They asked some tough questions to see if I had any ongoing beefs with other troopers, any alcohol or drug use, mental problems, any grudges or to see if I had an agenda.
They took the complaint seriously and acted as professional as every trooper I've ever known except for the one I met Monday evening.
I explained my long history of working with troopers back to my days working for Dale and Betty Bumpers as the national guard PR guy promoting their childhood immunization campaign, as a guy who wrote a column in April 2006 explaining what the Thin Blue Line meant and why so many policemen turn out for a fellow officer's funeral after I attended the services in Searcy for my friend Sgt. Troy Mouser who died out on a roadblock. I explained how the Arkansas State Police Association reprinted the column in their summer edition of their magazine.
They asked what I expected to be done to the trooper and I told them that was not my decision but I'd hope that he would learn that journalists have a First Amendment right to cover news and to take photos without abuse, that he would learn to be respectful to the public even if he was writing them a ticket for speeding or whatever and that he needed to learn how to control his anger, perhaps through an anger management class.
I was told that it would take 30 days to complete at least and that they would interview witnesses and the trooper last. They asked if I knew anyone else who had problems with this officer and the ask them to call if they did so they could be interviewed.
I have every confidence in our judicial system and in the current administration in the state police to get to the bottom of this issue and to take appropriate action. I believe that I will be vindicated but I'll wait for their official ruling.