by David Koon
Arkansas State Surgeon General Joe Thompson was arrested at his Little Rock home on Saturday, and was later charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, use of force and attempting to influence a public official following what police say was a drunken altercation with a security guard and Little Rock police officers.
The LRPD police report said that Thompson came out of his house on Saturday and accosted Jacob Farque, a Stephens, Inc. security guard who was patrolling the neighborhood. The guard, who told police he has been patrolling there for over a year, said Thompson smelled heavily of alcohol, and used slurs and obscene language even after Farque showed Thompson his identification badge. (Lt. Terry Hastings with the LRPD said of the Stephens, Inc. guard: "Their security guard goes up there and checks houses that I assume belong to some of their folks. They've been doing it for some time.")
After LRPD officers arrived at the request of Farque, the report says Thompson became similarly hostile with officers, at one point standing 1-1/2 inches from an officer's face and yelling. "Thompson advised he was the Surgeon General," the report says, "and his neighbors would back him in this matter." After Thompson tried to go into his house, the report states, "given his hostile demeanor towards officers and refusal to comply with our lawful orders," officers placed him under arrest, being forced to take him to the ground in order to get the cuffs on him.
While being transported to the police station, Thompson reportedly told officers "he was the Surgeon General, and you have made a mistake, because I work for the Governor." Once he arrived at the station and was placed in an interview room, the report says Thompson "continuously beat on the door and yelled."
Thompson bonded out of the Pulaski County Jail on Sunday morning on a $2,000 bond.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Gov. Mike Beebe's spokesman, Matt DeCample. DeCample said that Thompson reached out to the Governor's office yesterday to let them know about the situation, and representatives of the office have since spoken to him, but said the Governor and Thompson have not been in direct contact as of yet. DeCample said he can't recall a case where a state employee was charged with a crime for saying he or she worked for or knew the Governor.
"We'll continue to watch what proceeds with the charges," DeCample said. "If the allegations are true and the Governor feels there was inappropriate behavior, he will talk to the Surgeon General accordingly. He does not see anything at this point to prevent Dr. Thompson from continuing to work and from doing his job."