by Max Brantley
As Reynolds was walking Bell to our vehicle, Bell asked what Walker was doing filming the arrest. At that point I heard Walker state, "I'm just making sure they don't kill you."At least eight officers were involved in taking four suspects to jail.
Officer J. Roberts and I attempted to speak with Walker, but he kept talking over us in an antagonistic and provocative manner. We left Walker to his filming and moved back to the traffic stop that Officers Reynolds and Wiggs were conducting. Officer Reynolds found that Suspect 2 [Gary Gregory, 24] also had an FTA [failure to appear] warrant out of our department. While officers were dealing with the arrest of Gregory, Suspect 3 (Kushukuru) and Walker began walking toward our traffic stop.
Officer J. Roberts told Kushukuru and Walker to stop and not come into the area of the traffic stop. Officer Roberts repeated the command several times. Kushukuru and Walker ignored these commands. Kushukuru walked between our patrol vehicle and vehicle 1. Walker stopped at the rear of vehicle 1. Officer Roberts took Kushukuru into custody. I (Thompson) approached Walker and advised him to leave the area of the traffic stop. Walker moved to the front of vehicle 1 and onto the sidewalk by vehicle 1. I ordered Walker several times to leave or be arrested. Walker replied, 'Arrest me,' at which point I did.
While at the jail, Officer Wiggs overheard Walker state to a jailer, "I only want to file a complaint against the white officers."
The issue is personal for Walker, who co-sponsored the bill. In 1998, Walker was driving with his daughter and two grandchildren and stopped to observe a traffic stop of young black men by white Pine Bluff police officers. Walker parked and walked across the street to observe the encounter. An officer walked over and asked him what he was doing and Walker stated that he was watching "Pine Bluff's finest in action." Walker was arrested for "obstructing governmental operations" and then, according to Walker's testimony, the officer "drove Walker at varying speeds over dark wooded roads to the police station." Walker was never charged and successfully sued the city of Pine Bluff.The 2015 law waives the state's sovereign immunity when the law is violated. Details of this case will be interesting, not to mention important to the court arguments that lie ahead.