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Civil rights suit targets LRPD


Quote of the week

"There is no way around it: DACA is an unlawful program that must be phased out." Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's statement in a June letter she and nine other state attorneys general sent to the Trump administration, threatening to sue President Trump unless he ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program by Sept. 5. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be phased out. There are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 DACA participants in Arkansas, and about 800,000 nationwide, many of them with families of their own. No new DACA applications will be accepted, the Department of Homeland Security said. Those DACA recipients whose cards were set to expire before March 5, 2018, will be given a one-month window for a final renewal. Those recipients whose protections were set to expire after that date will not get to renew. They'll simply lose their ability to work, their ability to legally drive and their guarantee of security from deportation.

Civil rights suit targets LRPD

Chicago attorney Mike Laux has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the family of a 46-year-old man killed by Little Rock Police Department officers last October. The lawsuit names the officer involved, LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner and the city of Little Rock as defendants. Roy Lee Richards, 46, of Little Rock was killed Oct. 25, 2016, after officers responded to a disturbance call at 514 E. Eighth St. When officers arrived, the report filed at the time said, they saw Richards chasing his uncle, Derrell Underwood, 53, with a "long gun." LRPD Officer Dennis Hutchins shot Richards. According to the report, Underwood told police that he and Richards had engaged in an argument that became a physical fight, with bystanders calling the police. The rifle turned out to be a pellet gun.

In a press release, the family of Roy Richards said the police report filed at the time was "absolutely false," saying that eyewitnesses and physical evidence refute the account.

Laux has become something of a thorn in the side of the LRPD in recent years, filing civil rights lawsuits over high-profile police shootings of black citizens, including the December 2010 shooting of Eugene Ellison, a 67-year-old Navy veteran shot by LRPD Officer Donna Lesher in his apartment near the intersection of Col. Glenn Road and South University Avenue after an altercation with police, and Bobby Moore, a 15-year-old shot in August 2012 by LRPD Officer Josh Hastings after Hastings responded to reports of someone breaking into cars at the Shadow Lakes apartment complex in West Little Rock. The city paid out a record $900,000 settlement and issued a formal apology over the Ellison shooting in May 2016. In April of this year, a federal jury awarded $415,000 to Moore's family in their lawsuit against former LRPD officer Hastings. Laux represented the families in both cases.

Arkansas National Guard in Houston

Governor Hutchinson has authorized the deployment of 1,500 Arkansas National Guardsmen to Texas, where they will assist with cleanup and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The deployment could last up to a month.

New gun law takes effect, but ...

The sweeping expansion of Arkansas's concealed carry law passed by the legislature earlier this year became law Friday, but don't start packing heat to school just yet. The permits required for "enhanced carry" of firearms in sensitive areas such as college campuses aren't yet available, and won't be for some time.

Originally intended to cover colleges and universities only, House Bill 1249 grew in scope and ambition to include courthouses, bars, churches and the state Capitol, following heated public debate and intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association. It creates a new class of enhanced permit for concealed carry license holders who complete a separate mandatory training, the details of which will be determined by the State Police. The new law requires the State Police to design the training program within 90 days of the law's taking effect. Sponsor Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) tweeted that he expects the training program to be in place by the first quarter of 2018.

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