Quote of the week
"We will not stop. We will not hide in the shadows. Those at the top can choose to uproot this culture in the city government or they can remain tolerant of it. Either way, they've known for a long time and they are all culpable, in my opinion. Make options available for all of these people, or stop using the tax dollars that they also pay to try to run them off."
— Aaron Reddin of the homeless support organization The Van, responding to a report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on a concerted effort by Little Rock City Hall and the Little Rock Police Department to force the homeless out of downtown, in part because of frequent complaints from the owner of a business near a downtown church that provides food to the homeless community.
A new death watch
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has notified Governor Hutchinson that death row inmate Jack Gordon Greene has exhausted all of his appeals. The governor plans to set an execution date, a spokesman said. A supply of midazolam, a sedative used in the state's three-drug execution protocol, expired at the end of April, but the Arkansas Department of Correction obtained a new supply of the drug on Aug. 4, according to a spokesman. The department paid $250 in cash for the drug. The pending expiration of the department's earlier supply of the drug prompted Hutchinson to schedule eight executions in April, but only four men were killed by the state.
Greene was convicted of the 1992 Johnson County murder of Sidney Burnett, who was beaten, stabbed, shot and mutilated. Greene's lawyer, John C. Williams, an assistant federal public defender, said Green suffers from brain damage and mental illness. "He has long suffered from a fixed delusion that the Arkansas Department of Correction is conspiring with his attorneys to cover up injuries that he believes corrections officers have inflicted upon him. He complains that his spinal cord has been removed and his central nervous system has been destroyed. He believes he will be executed to cover up what he calls these 'crimes against humanity.' "
First person charged in Power Ultra Lounge shooting
The LRPD announced last week it had filed the first charges related to shots fired in the Power Ultra Lounge shootings July 1 that wounded 25.
Kentrell "Dirt" Gwynn, 25, of Memphis, already jailed on a federal charge, was charged with 10 counts of aggravated assault because shell casings found at the scene matched tests of bullets fired from his gun.
Gwynn was a bodyguard for the rapper, Ricky Hampton, known as Finese2Tymes, who was performing when the shooting started at the downtown club. He and Hampton were arrested the next day in Birmingham, Ala. Hampton has been charged with shooting at someone in a Forrest City club. Gwynn was charged with providing a gun to a felon, Hampton.
Police said they are still seeking suspects in the case. It's unknown if any witness has come forward to specifically identify those who fired guns that night in the crowded club. No charges have been filed specifically related to any of those wounded.
FBI investigates senator
Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) isn't seeking re-election next year, and no wonder. Evidence mounts of legal troubles likely to occupy him for some time. First came a filing in civil court that showed his construction enterprises owed banks and the IRS and others more than $1.2 million. More ominous was an FBI affidavit filed Monday for a search warrant of Files' records. It detailed allegedly fictitious bids to support a city application for state surplus money to go toward a construction project being handled by Files' construction company. The affidavit said Files put more than $25,000 of the money to his own uses, not for the utility project to which it was supposed to go. The FBI agent who prepared the affidavit said the deposit of a cashier's check Files received from the proceeds into a company account amounted to wire fraud. No one has been charged. Files dismissed the report as old news. Plus, perhaps ominously for others, he said he understood the FBI was looking into use of state surplus money by other legislators.