Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen
GRIFFEN: Blunt words on systemic injustice in law enforcement.
continued to offer outspoken comments on problems of racial bias in law enforcement at a community forum in Jacksonville yesterday, the AP reports
Said Griffen, "It isn't accidental when a white person can commit murder and get arrested safely and a black person can't walk around safely without worrying about being killed."
Gov. Asa Hutchinson
also spoke at the forum and touted alternative sentencing courts and prisoner re-entry programs.
Griffen's public statements on everything from the police misconduct to the Little Rock School Board have generated headlines that critics have argued are inappropriate for a judge (some parties before him have unsuccessfully argued that he should recuse). However, as the Judicial Discipline and Disability found in 2007
, Griffen's comments are protected speech under the First Amendment.