Some good news on this story: Roderick Talley was given bail of $62,000, and is now out. The aggravated assault on a police officer charge has also been reduced to a misdemeanor. He still faces trial in March for the absurd felony forgery charge. https://t.co/IIXbZnkgi3— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) December 3, 2018
His mind flashed to the harassment he has endured since exposing the LRPD raids (as I reported last month, Talley says he was SWAT-ted while staying with some friends in a Little Rock suburb), and he feared for his safety if he were to be taken to a jail cell.The incident ended up becoming an issue in the mayoral campaign, when the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police used it in a smear campaign against Frank Scott that critics argued was racially charged; Baker Kurrus, the FOP's preferred candidate, requested the FOP's controversial post be taken down and the FOP complied.
[T]he charges, however, did come after Talley had begun posting on social media what he was learning about the LRPD narcotics unit. Of course, it’s impossible to say if the charge was retaliation. The county seat of Cross County, Wynne, is about an hour and 40 minutes from Little Rock. But it isn’t at all clear why this charge was resurrected nearly two years after the alleged crime. (The office of Cross County assistant district attorney Vincent Guest said Guest was out of town when I called, and has not returned my call.)Once the charges were filed, Talley's first trial date was set for June. He drove four hours to the courthouse in Wynne; the proceedings had been cancelled and no one notified him. He requested a speedy trial to get the matter resolved but the court granted the state an exemption, and the trial was postponed twice more. It was finally scheduled for November 14. Talley once agains drove the four hours to Wynne but encountered a severe winter storm and was running late (Balko confirmed the details of the storm on that day; Talley says he called the court twice to inform them of the situation and that he was on his way). Talley arrived half an hour late. The judge ordered him arrested.
According to news reports, he ran out of the courthouse to the rental car he had taken to Wynne. At this point, accounts of the incident differ. According to police, a sheriff’s deputy tried to prevent Talley from leaving. Talley then drove the car at the deputy, causing the deputy to fall onto the hood. Talley then turned out of the parking lot, leading the deputy to fall off the car. Laux states that Talley says the deputy threw himself onto the hood of the car to prevent Talley from leaving. But because the hood was wet, the deputy slipped off the side, at which point Talley drove off. Apparently there is video of the incident that will confirm what happened. Talley insists that the reports that he struck the deputy are false. At worst, he may have tried to drive away while the deputy was still partially on the hood.In addition to a litany of other charges, Talley was initially charged with aggravated assault on a police officer but the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. As Balko notes in a followup story, published in the Washington Post yesterday, "It has ... been known to all parties since the incident occurred that there is security camera footage that should determine who is telling the truth. That footage hasn’t yet been released, but the decision to drop the felony charge certainly suggests that it’s favorable to Talley."
If [the surveillance footage] is exonerating, that makes the decision of the Cross County sheriff (amplified by police agencies all over the state) to put out an APB indicating that Talley was dangerous pretty inexcusable. That warning likely put Talley’s life at risk.
Talley should certainly take responsibility for these mistakes. But the predicament in which he now finds himself is the product of not just his own bad choices, but also of a harsh and unforgiving system, exacerbated by him being a black man without means, all multiplied by his renown as the guy who took on the police. He took on the system. And now the system is punishing him for it. It’s also hard not to notice that the most serious charge Talley is now facing is for putting a police officer in harm’s way. He could get six years for that. Yet the cops who put Little Rock residents — including children — in harm’s way with illegal no-knock warrants and dangerous explosives are unlikely to face any repercussions at all, much less criminal charges.
Talley’s panicked decision to run away was the wrong one, but it also isn’t all that difficult to understand. The state of Arkansas seems intent on crushing him for it.