Members of Little Rock's African-American community had harsh words for the City Board of Directors tonight, accusing them of insensitivity to their neighborhoods and the crime that besets them.
One woman who identified herself as the founder of a nonprofit organization that helps single parents on the verge of poverty demanded that the entire board step down, and Director Irma Hendrix agreed with her. The woman, whose name sounded like Chenal Smith (names are not spelled out on the TV simulcast), criticized Mayor Stodola for his offhand remark at Saturday's press conference on the shootings at Power Ultra, the Sixth Street club where gunfire broke out around 2:30 a.m. that day, injuring 25 people (three others suffered other injuries in the melee), that the reason no one died was because shooters were a "bad shot." "It was insensitive and unprofessional," Smith said. "Y'all jump when it affects people who look like you."
Another man, who would identify himself only as Brother Larry, said Little Rock was doing nothing to clean up 12th street, which he called a "Hell hole" beset with prostitution and drug dealing. Brother Larry warned the City Board that people in the neighborhood were going to take matters in their own hands: "We'll run them out, we'll shoot them out."
Benny Johnson, head of Stop the Violence, accused the board of being racist, its white members attitude being "Let the Negroes kill each other ... that's the message you all are sending out." He noted that a special police unit was sent out to protect people at "Pops on the River"; "what about pops in the hood?"
The meeting is continuing; Police Chief Kenton Buckner is addressing the board now. He says the Power Ultra entertainment, rapper Finese 2Tymes, is "a person of interest" in the Saturday shooting. It is broadcast on Ch. 99, the public access channel.