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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Police release Walker arrest video; shows cops accusing him of being 'race baiter'

Police release Walker arrest video; shows cops accusing him of being 'race baiter'
MVR Camera 1

MVR Camera 2

UPDATE: ALL charges have been dropped on both Representative John Walker and associate, Omavi Kushukuru.

Arkansas State Rep. who pushed for law to film police, arrested for filming police

Ark Times Reports:
Officer Jeff Thompson

Arkansas State Representative John Walker was arrested on Monday morning, Sept. 26, 016.

Police release Walker arrest video; shows cops accusing him of being 'race baiter'

Little Rock police were in the process of arresting a stopped driver for theft of property around 11:30 a.m. at 9th and Commerce streets.
Officer Jason Roberts

Walker, 79, walked into the scene of the traffic stop and began filming the incident.  The arrested driver asked what Walker was doing, to which Walker responded, "I'm making sure they don't kill you."

After escorting the driver to the patrol car in handcuffs, police found that the passenger of the stopped call also had an outstanding arrest warrant.

As the police were arresting the passenger, Walker and another individual approached the scene in a "antagonistic and provocative manner."  Officers repeatedly told both individuals to stop and stay away from the scene.

Walker told the police he was not going to leave and instructed the police to arrest him.  Police obliged and charged him with interfering with government operations.  The other individual was also arrested.

At the station, Walker informed the jailers that he only wanted to file a complaint "against the white officers."

Police release Walker arrest video; shows cops accusing him of being 'race baiter'

The Little Rock police department released copies of dash camera footage of a traffic stop that led to the arrests of state Rep. John Walker, 79, for obstructing governmental operations, a charge later dropped.

ArkansasMatters.com further reports: The email that Little Rock Police Department Chief Kenton Buckner sent to officers late Wednesday night has the subject line "Stay Professional." It reads, in part, "There are multiple opinions about how the entire incident was handled." Walker was issued a letter of apology from the LRPD that he rejected. On Thursday, he and Shukur held a news conference to discuss what happened. "With these tapes, you saw that we did nothing," Walker said, speaking of dash camera video from police cruisers the LRPD had released on Wednesday.

Walker and Shukur spoke for nearly an hour about the events that led to their arrest and also about what they say is the mistreatment of black people in Central Arkansas.
Walker says he and Shukur were peacefully exercising their right to record police interactions when they were approached by officers who made disparaging comments.

Minority neighborhoods, they say, are targeted by overzealous police, but the majority of the time it goes unnoticed.

The footage released today comes from four cameras and include an extended amount of filming as two teams of officers — each with a trainee — handle the traffic stop of a car without a license. The driver and a passenger en route to a doctor's appointment had outstanding minor warrants.

Walker walks up during the stop and begins filming with a cell phone from across the street, an activity noticed by cops on the scene, some of whom know Walker. In time, two officers cross the street to ask Walker what he's doing and why. He identified himself but said he didn't need to explain his actions.

Officers explained the traffic stop and said the driver was being treated with "total respect." They also said they agreed he had a right to observe.

The conversation grew heated, however, as Walker explained his interest in treatment of black suspects and made reference to police use of deadly force. That raised the ire of an officer who asked if Walker had ever been a police officer. He questioned whether Walker understood the challenges police face. One officer called Walker a "race baiter" and asked if he'd be interested if police had stopped a white person. The officer said Walker had been trying to film police for years and was just trying to provoke.

Film in another patrol car, taking the driver to jail, has audio of an older officer telling a younger black female officer who'd made the stop about Walker: "His main purpose was to be arrested." Walker, he said, had been "a thorn in the side of the police department" since he joined the force.

The treatment of the people originally stopped seemed calm, even amiable. Officers tried to look for a way around jailing of the man who used a wheelchair, hoping to just issue a citation.

KARK has posted a separate 19-minute video clip that eventually gets to the discussion between Walker and two officers.

Walker has rejected an apology for the arrest and Police Chief Kenton Buckner has said he anticipates a lawsuit over the encounter. The department is investigating officers' actions in the case. The city has maintained the obstruction charge against Omavi Kushukuru (or Shukur). He is alleged to have walked between the patrol car that made the initial stop and the car in which two people were found to have warrants.

A female officer in a later arriving unit said somebody walked from across the street into the scene of the stop.

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