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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little Rock's Legacy of Elitist Police Racism Exposed



9 RESPONSES TO “UPDATE OF UPDATE: LR BOARD OF DIRECTOR KEN RICHARDSON AND MY SON”


In light the recent bigot, Officer David Edgmon, hired back on to the Little Rock Police force, it sure doesn't sound too far-fetched that there is an elitist culture of racism within the police department. 

This article is written by a retired Lt. of the LRPD regarding his cop son's encounter with a city official

A bigot is a bigot. I personally believe that this incident would have NEVER occurred if the person wearing the "police" shirt was a 50 year old white man with grey hair, that he "didn't recognize". Products of systematic racism. Is Eliot a racist? Probably not, a cop racial profiling bigot, a great possibility

And your wonderful use of the word "flippant", in describing the duly elected Director Richardson, no matter what race card he is playing equates in bigot "speak" to: "Uppity Smart-ass Nigger".  For your information

E Pluribus Unum
Creole Houma-Choctaw Tribe
American Creole Indian Nation

Many of you may have noticed an article on the front page of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette published on August 20, 2010, that mentions the fact that my son, Eliot Young, is undergoing an internal affairs investigation for an incident involving his interaction with Little Rock City Director Ken Richardson.  Being a retired Lieutenant with the LRPD and no longer being bound by the Police Department’s policies and procedures, I feel compelled to make a few comments about that matter.
First, my son has been a member of the Little Rock Police Department SWAT team for the last six years; a position I have long counseled him against because of its obvious danger but one that he seems to appreciate because it affords him the unquestionable opportunity to serve the citizens of Little Rock with great professionalism during the most difficult police encounters imaginable.  During his time on the SWAT team, he has NEVER been the subject of an internal affair’s investigation for misconduct of any type, until now, which is a fact that he is justifiably proud of given the extreme and difficult circumstances of his work.
Ken Richardson, a politician elected to the Little Rock City Board of Directors, has filed a complaint against Eliot with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit alleging misconduct because of an incident involving Richardson’s wearing of an official shirt of the LRPD used to identify plain clothed police personnel to the general public.  Richardson claims my son asked him “why he was wearing the [police] shirt and whether he worked for the Police Department” according to the newspaper account.  Had Richardson actually been a police officer, he would have known that Arkansas law makes it a crime to sell or purchase any law enforcement insignia that has been formally sanctioned by a law enforcement agency and that it is a felony for any person to assume a law enforcement identity when none actually exists, due to the rape of several women who were stopped and attacked by people doing exactly that.
With those facts in mind and because he knew that shirt had been formally sanctioned by the LRPD for Detectives to wear at crime scenes to assist with their identification, Eliot made an investigative stop of Richardson to inquire about Richardson’s wearing of the police shirt.  When Richardson made a flippant comment in response to his inquiry and attempted to place his hand in his pocket to retrieve something, Eliot reasonably feared an armed attack endangering his safety and stopped Richardson’s potentially threatening action.  After determining that Richardson posed no threat and apparently was not violating any law, he released Richardson without further delay.  For Eliot to have done otherwise, could have subjected him to a charge of dereliction of duty; however, this incident did not end after Richardson’s release.
Richardson claimed at the next meeting of the Little Rock City Board of Directors that my son had acted improperly when stopping him, filed a complaint with the LRPD alleging misconduct in the incident, and, in the newspaper article, reiterated that claim to reporters.  In the newspaper account, Richardson claimed that he is not “one to jump to race as an issue;” although, he certainly had no reservation about jumping to race in this issue and, I might add, neither did the President of the Black Police Officers Association (BPOA) whom Eliot had long considered to be his friend.  I suppose, being a politician, and we all know how “honorable” they are, Richardson can be expected to exploit the circumstances of this incident and attempt to turn it into some racial fodder in a pathetic attempt to make some political hay with his constituents; however, that does not account for the obvious racial attitude of the BPOA officer who quickly raised this same tried and true slur approach against my son.  Having raised Eliot alone, I know that a person’s race has never been a motivating factor to be considered in either his professional life or his personal life, as evidenced by his marriage to a very sweet woman, who is not white, and their provision of two adorable grandsons for me.  Thus, I know, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Richardson and the local left-wing news media have blown the whole “racial” context of this incident completely out of any reasonable proportion.
Richardson claims, in the newspaper article, that he was on some noble quest to dissuade the residents of his Ward from “mistrust [of] the police” and that he has always supported the police department.  I suppose, somehow in Richardson’s mind, he equates support of the police department with the fact that the Board has not even allowed the LRPD the funds to complete the much-needed repair of their ancient headquarters’ leaky roof, as reported by the same edition of the newspaper as his slurs against my son.  As for his “noble quest,” it is my opinion that it is not the police the residents of Richardson’s Ward should mistrust; it is instead their elected member of the Little Rock City Board who parades around knowing that people think him to be a police officer when he is not.  Talk about “stolen valor,” that is a perfect example of it!
Finally, I am very much embarrassed by Richardson’s public comments about my son but take solace in the knowledge that my son did absolutely nothing wrong in this incident.  It is a shame that the City of Little Rock has degenerated to such a state as to have a person like Richardson serving on the City Board of Directors; however, that is a matter I hope the electorate will remedy in the next election.
UPDATE:
My son will have a fit with me for  telling this but I cannot keep quite any longer about something I know of this incident.  Terry Hastings, the Department’s public information officer whom I very much like and respect, said in the newspaper article, “[B]oth officers and civilians, can purchase shirts like the one Richardson was wearing the day of the encounter with Young.  They’re available in golf shirts and long-sleeved button-up styles.”  Also, Richardson claimed, in the same newspaper article, “police officials gave him the shirt he was wearing“ during his encounter with Eliot.  Those statements have caused many people to think Eliot should have known those facts when he confronted Richardson.  Thus, Eliot’s honor, integrity, and professionalism are needlessly and inappropriately being called into question and, as his father, I can no longer sit silently by and watch that occur.
While I am certain Terry only announced those facts to the reporter because he was instructed  too, an appropriate follow up question would have been, “How long has this policy been in effect and when did the LRPD first announce to the public that the shirts were for sale”?  His only truthful answer could have been that the policy, if there is one, went into effect no earlier than the date of the incident with Richardson and that his previous announcement of that fact is the first announcement.
Why would that be true and why would the LRPD allow one of their own to be the subject of such public scorn and ridicule, one may ask?  Because the City and the LRPD are attempting to provide cover for the fact that the “police official” who gave Richardson the shirt was none other than Stuart Thomas, the Chief of the LRPD who has handed out those shirts, like candy canes at a Christmas party, to members of the City Board of Directors and the Civil Service Commission without notifying the officers of the LRPD of that fact.
I like Stuart and strongly supported his appointment as the Chief of the LRPD; however, this incident involving my son clearly indicates he used poor judgment in his decision to pass out those shirts to the public without notifying his officers of that action.  I can only hope that he will now stand up and take responsibility for his own actions in this matter and refute the erroneous public perception that Eliot should have known those shirts were available to the public when neither Eliot nor any other officer of the LRPD had any way of knowing their Chief was freely passing them out to City officials.
I now await the rebuke of my son for letting this “cat out of the bag.”  I can only hope he will understand that my reason for doing so is because I love him very much and cannot stand to see his good name being publicly dragged through the dirt as a scapegoat for his superior’s lapse of sound judgment.
UPDATE of the UPDATE:
Today, LRPD Chief Stuart Thomas and I had a brief telephone conversation concerning my previous update to this article.
During that conversation, I became convinced that his failure to anticipate the problems caused by the LRPD shirt that Richardson was wearing on the date of his encounter with my son was not due to his lack of poor judgment in the beginning, but rather, was due to the impossibility of predicting, with any reasonable degree of certainty, the endless unknown facts and circumstances that may occur or cause problems for a law enforcement agency in the future.
Although, I do NOT believe this particular problem is one that could have been anticipated by Stuart in the beginning, I DO believe it should have become apparent given the facts and circumstances of Officer’s not being aware that the shirts were available to the general public.
He assured me that this incident would result in his taking reasonable internal steps to ensure that this problem did not reoccur and that the whole matter would be handled in accordance with the polices and procedures of the Little Rock Police Department.
For those reasons, I apologized to him for the tenor of my above update, told him I would do so on this website, and that I would be watching the outcome of this incident with keen interest.
Finally, while my son clearly did nothing wrong in his handling of this incident, it is now also apparent that neither did Stuart Thomas for his inability to foresee the problem at the outset.
That being said, I now await his decisions on the other two matters.


Luke Skrable:
Thank you for your keen observations.  If this incident happened to any other black citizen, no words would have been said after the officer did his job.  It would not have made the papers, it would not have turned into a political platform to shed light before the election, on a Ward Representative who has opposition this Nov.  I have personally dealt with this director and found him to be self serving and narrow minded in his quest to help all the public in his ward and our city.  As observed, the city leadership has degenerated due to loosing it’s moral compass the past 15 years.  We all need to rally the homeowners and taxpayers of our city to elect men and women with Real Character.  Ward Representatives that are Honest and have Ethics and Integrity.  We need elected officials that know what Leaders do.   We need leaders that know what Accountability and Moral Responsability actualy are.  Moral Character is the only thing that will heal and repair this city.  Get out and vote and get every neighbor you know to do the same.  Novemeber 2010 is the line in the sand.  Vote a positive change or suffer another 4 years of indifference and incompetence. 
  • marty garrison:
    I was lucky enough to have gotten to work with Elliot for several years before I retired. He is one of the best officers we have on the Department. He is one of the few that would have the nerve to stop someone that he didn’t recognize as being a Little Rock Police Officer that was wearing a LRPD Shirt. Mr. Richardson, nor anyone else that didn’t serve on the LRPD, should be wearing this shirt. Who knows why he was wearing it. He probably wanted people to think he was someone that had a little authority. His story about him wearing the shirt to show the public he supported us is bull shit. I was not aware that others from withing the Department came out against Elliot. This doesn’t surprise me. Wonder how he would feel if Mr. Richardson walked around wearing the Marine Dress Blue Uniform pretending that he served in the Marine Corps. Bet that would piss him off. At a time when all Officers should be standing up for Elliott doing his job, this saddens me. I am also lucky enough to have been on the LRPD at a time when the race card wasn’t an issue everytime something came up. We all used to be “Blue”. I worked with several minority officers that would have went to hell and back for me, and me for them. That is how it should be. No one on the City Board should be wearing anything that says they are members of the LRPD. Not only have they not earned this right, but it is dangerous for them to do so. I also seem to remember one time where they all wanted “Badges” identifying them as Board Members. Wonder if they still do that. Why would they need that. Maybe wearing a LRPD Shirt, or having a Police Type of Badge might get them out of a speeding ticket. Who knows. We all need to stand by Elliot for doing his job. I think the Administration should, and will, stand by him. Also if I read the article right, Mr. Carpenter had to stop Mr. Richardson during one of the board meetings and caution him about his comments involving this situation. Mr. Richardson was quick to compain to Internal Affairs about Elliot. maybe someone should complain about his conduct at this board meeting.
    Marty Garrison 
  • Steve Young:
    Just a comment to allow our membership to see this UPDATE to this article.  Just click the “HERE” link at the top of the article to get to the red “UPDATE” heading and read from there if you have previously read this article.
    I also plan to call the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reporter who published the article about Eliot and direct her to the information contained in this update because this matter has developed into a full-blown “racial” incident for the LRPD with my son as the Department’s scapegoat.
  • John Gilchrist:
    I agree totally with everyone’s observations.  Marty, the days from the past that you enjoyed are gone as you knew it.  I felt it necessary to respond to Richardson attack in the paper by voicing my opinion while still protecting the integrity of the ongoing investigation.
    As an insider I can honestly tell you that I was personally aware that persons other than police were wearing the attire that we are speaking of.  I am also aware that a large percentage of officers in the department where under the same impression as Elliot, that they were thought to be worn only by Little Rock Police Officer.
    I believe that the intent of the program was initiated with good intent in an effort to promote funds that were lost when the income from vending machines was lost.  Those funds to my knowledge funded things like retirement parties, plaques, etc.  It’s also the reason a generic format was used instead of a badge, not unlike the NYPD or Las Vegas CSU shirts that support other departments.  Since this encounter I’ve personally taken notice that secretaries, radio room personnel, etc. are wearing the shirts in question.  I mention this not to justify their wearing of the said shirts but to explain what my knowledge of the program is.  I clearly think Elliot was in the majority for thinking what he did and agree with Marty that Elliot is one in a few that has the moxie to stop and ask someone the questions he did.  In today’s environment with home grown terrorist etc. there is cause to question something that appears not to fit.  As  police officers we are all trained to observe things that normal citizens would never consider.  We are also all trained in today’s society that person with foul intents often use the attire of a law enforcement officials to blend in or become accepted in an environment.  When Timothy McVay visited Little Rock and considered the TCBY building as a target would Elliot have been wrong to question someone he didn’t know?  Certainly Elliot would have been equally criticized had a atrocity occurred and the knowledge that a police officer had seen that individual and not acted at all.  We are also taught that only the hands are what hurt us.  Simple protection and the reason that Elliot asked Richardson not to put his hands in his pocket.  A simple request but as you police officers know, often challanged.
    I’d like to bring up the point that is more likely the question at hand.  Why did Richardson reply to Elliot the way he did?  Richardson was quick to throw out the race card, gender card, age discrimination card.  Was this the answer that we would have expected a elected city official to respond to a citizen? No!  Richardson did exactly what he has accused Elliot of.  He turned around and saw a short hair cut, boot wearing white male with full sleeve tattoos down both arms.  He profiled and stereotyped Elliot in one fell swoosh.  He answered Elliot’s questions in a manner that is unacceptable in any context.  I think I could honestly say that if Elliot was wearing a City of Little Rock “Board of Directors” shirt Richardson well may have stop Elliot to make a similar inquiry.  The other question I must ask is Richardson is up for re-election.  He has two other opponents running against him.  Once this encounter went south and he was embarrassed in front of his own superiors did Richardson spin this for a little free media?  The implications are long for consideration.
    Richardson knew Elliot was a police officer seconds after the encounter took place.  Why else would he call the Chief of Police directly.  Richardson made a mistake and instead of back tracking and saying something like “Yes Sir! No I don’t work for the Police Department, I’m Director Richardson, nice to meet you” he’s spun this to cover his sarcasm.  Certainly he could have digressed from the initial contact and taken this in a different direction.
    As Ive mentioned before, Richardson needs to stop and desist.  It will only further embarrass him when the facts are revealed.  The ballot box is where you deal with Richardson.  Integrity and ethics are the qualities that we need for representation.
    And to answer Marty’s question.  Yes, they still have Badges and they do carry them.  In fact it wasn’t until Richardson handed Elliot his wallet containing the badge that Elliot knew he was a director.
    Thanks for the forum Steve.
  • Al Miller:
     I worked with Elliot before I retired.  He is one of the best Officers at LRPD.  He always did an excellent job.  He should be commended for his actions.  Most Guards (Officers) would not have bothered to check this out.  He had reason to believe that this person was not a LRPD employee.  He merely enquired about the shirt.  Mr. Richardson should have answered his questions and not made a major deal out of it.   I’m proud that we have officers like Elliot.  He is one of the best.   Al Miller ,retired Guard. 
  • David Heasley:
    My guess is that the average Board of Director, Mayor, City Manager, head of City Department, and various important city officials expects that the average patrol officer will recognize them on sight, due to their link in the city chain.     “Don’t you know who I am?”  Perhaps that’s why they put the pictures on the wall, so all  city employees would memorize their faces.  Years ago, one SGT told us our problem was no one ever told us what we were supposed to do.  Actually, they did, but just about every SGT told us something different, based, no doubt, upon every LT telling them something different, etc.    After we were supposed to recognize them, then some of those contacts indicated  they had some type of assimilated rank, as if their position within the city  carried over to the police department.    While it being in the papers is unusual, there’s no telling how many phone calls between the pd and other city depts/officials   had to do with relative importance of position within the city, with the expectation that the officer should know his or her place in the total organization.    Remember (1980/1981?)  giving a speeding ticket to a Kansas Mayor one time who told me he had his own police department, and had a hard time believing he could be given a ticket–he ultimately  complained to the city about it.  Toto, stop your speeding because you’re not in Kansas, anymore.
  • Lee Harrod:
    I also had the chance to work with Elliot before I retired.  When a problem came up I could count on Elliot to take care of it.  I supervised several hundred police officers while Sgt. at LRPD, Elliot was one of the best.  He is a very calm person who is always thinking before he acts.  This is why he is on the SWAT Team.
    Director Richardson acts before he thinks.  He should have explained to Elliot that he was a city director and someone in the LRPD gave him the shirt.  He could have explained this to Elliot after showing  his badge that looks like LRPD with city director on it which someone in the LRPD also gave him. I was thinking, can we give away shirts and badges that have been paid for by tax-payers?
    During this summer our pension board  went to the city directors  meeting to explain the shape our fund is in and also ask  for the approximately $500,000.00 the  city owes us in  probation fines.  When we came up on the agenda to speak director Richardson put his coat on and left the meeting.  It appears to me that he did not have time for us. It saddens  me that  he did not have time for the senior police members of LRPD.
    LEE HARROD—–LRPD PENSION BOARD MEMBER

  • David Jones:
    I Have A Question, If I buy an “LRPD Shirt” and Purchase a Badge that says “Big On Little Rock” and  a Police Officer Stops me and Finds out I am Not an Arkansas Police Officer Of the LRPD what would Happen to me??? I bet I would be Charged and in Front of A Judge Right? Why is this any Different for a City Elected Board Member?   Someone Should give that Officer a Key to the City I want him Protecting my House.
  • Buddy Vogler:
    I have known Eliot for a number of years and was just recently made aware of this incident. I have always had a great deal of respect for him as an officer and the job that he takes on. What is really starting to get me is politicians who think the law doesn’t apply to them. Instead of simply answering the questions, Richardson has to twist the issue around. The people of this city, state and nation are growing very tired of political spin Mr. Richardson! If you think Eliot considers race as his motivation for stopping you, you are more stupid then you seem. You are no Henry Louis Gates and you are the one acting “Stupidly”! 

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