KTHV reports that Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balentine
is resigning out of concern for the safety of his family.
Balentine's pickup was set fire
and spray-painted with "2 Amendment" not long after he stirred criticism among many who favor open carry of weapons by arresting a man who wore a holstered handgun into a McDonald's and insisted state law allowed it unless the restaurant had a sign posted to prohibit it. The man was convicted of carrying a weapon and disorderly conduct and plans to appeal the case, perhaps to settle a controversy over exactly what a legislative change did to the open carry law.
Meanwhile, Balentine has had enough. He'd earlier said he didn't suspect the man who was arrested in the torching of his truck. But he told KTHV:
"I feel that I am bettering the safety of my family and my new born child." If someone could stoop as low enough to burn my truck then I don't want to take that chance to endanger my family. I am officially resigning and my last day will be October 5th. I will continue my support for Bald Knob Police Department and the city. The council has been in support of me from the beginning and I appreciate all of them. I will continue to help Bald Knob everyway that I can and support the New Chiefs Department. I will continue to pursue all cases that I have, including the open carry case."
KATV has posted Balentine's resignation letter.