by Max Brantley
Michael Laux, attorney in the lawsuit against Little Rock police over the
December 2010 shooting death of Eugene Ellison in his Little Rock apartment, has asked that City Attorney Tom Carpenter be disqualified from defending the city. Laux's pleading says he'd learned Carpenter had been at the crime scene shortly after the shooting and thus was a potential witness. This conflict prevents him from representing the city, Laux contends.
Those following the case should find the brief on the disqualification motion interesting because of details it presents on the issue of whether the two officers, Donna Lesher and Tabitha McCrillis, who tried to subdue Ellison, had first attempted to use pepper spray before he was shot. They say they did. Pulaski County Coroner Garland Camper, since fired, told the media he saw no indication of pepper spray. The brief details differences in testimony and evidence from other members of the police department on the point. Laux will argue that the officers hadn't pepper sprayed Ellison before he was shot. The city will argue that they did. Laux says that the city went to "significant lengths" after Camper made his remarks to media to "bolster" the file with evidence spray was used. Since he was at the scene, Carpenter will be a witness on the issue, Laux said.