by Max Brantley
Former state Rep. Dan Greenberg of Little Rock, who blogs on a variety of subjects on which we invariably disagree, calls attention to a subject on which we might agree — the Little Rock police arrest of Surgeon General Joe Thompson — complete with physical takedown and handcuffs — in the castle of Thompson's own home for, essentially, being obnoxious.
Being obnoxious isn't a crime. Greenberg, a lawyer, makes the case that the Little Rock police had no defensible legal ground to arrest Thompson and that Officer Chris Johannes' own account of his action that night supports a civil action against the police for false arrest. Greenberg contends that Arkansas law doesn't allow the arrest of someone on their private property for refusal to provide information (Johannes has said Thompson's refusal to provide an ID triggered the arrest.)
Greenberg predicts that the charges will "go away" because the city doesn't need the embarrassment of a trial and Thompson would like to settle because he likes his job.
While more in agreement with Greenberg than customary, I'm not so sure I'm prepared to agree police will act reasonably and fold on the arrest or that Thompson wouldn't prefer the exoneration that full exposure of events might bring. Greenberg fails to bring in the Stephens Inc. angle. The actions of one of the members of its 45-member roving private security force and his surveillance presence on Thompson's street late one night was THE precipitating event of this farce.