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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Liar/Domestic Abuser John Gilchrist: Actually Qualified To Be the LRPD Union Spokesman?

LRPD Union Spokesman Actually Qualified To Be the LRPD Union Spokesman? 



October 9, 2015 

by Caleb Taylor, The Arkansas Project

You’ll probably remember our recent interview with John Gilchrist, the head of Little Rock’s police union: Gilchrist criticized Chief Kenton Buckner’s proposal that city cops should have to pass a fitness test. Maybe Gilchrist really believes that it helps his brothers in blue to oppose the idea that one should have a certain level of physical fitness to be a cop.

After we published our story, The Arkansas Project learned that Gilchrist has an unusual background for someone who speaks on behalf of the police — namely, Gilchrist’s history of failure to meet basic law-enforcement job obligations. More precisely, when Gilchrist was the subject of an internal affairs investigation some years ago, he was found to have committed unnecessary violence, to have made false statements to police investigators, and to have behaved in a manner inappropriate for a police officer.

Gilchrist has been the subject of several different complaints, involving incidents in which he violently assaulted a female acquaintance in a Little Rock gas station parking lot (which led to his criminal conviction for disorderly conduct) and refused to submit to Saline County deputies when he got pulled over for speeding, which resulted in his arrest and multiple charges. When Gilchrist’s actions were reviewed by his internal affairs division, it found that Gilchrist had “misrepresented the facts of the incident” and had been “untruthful.”

Officer John Gilchrist III

Stuart Thomas, who was Little Rock’s police chief at the time, attempted to fire Gilchrist after these incidents, but Thomas was later overruled by the city’s Civil Service Commission. Instead, the Commission suspended him for 30 days, demoted him from sergeant to police officer, and required him to participate in a year of mandatory counseling. 

This is not the ideal career trajectory of a police spokesman.

One additional wrinkle: as a practical matter, Gilchrist is likely disqualified from ever testifying in court about his police work. Under Brady v. Maryland, which requires prosecutors to disclose any evidence to a criminal defendant that would assist his or her side of the case, it would be an extremely risky move for any prosecutor, ever, to put Gilchrist on the stand — given that Gilchrist has been tarred with an official finding of dishonesty. Once again, when you’re a police advocate, that’s not a very good reputation to have. 

Do we really want someone who was officially found dishonest by internal affairs to be the police union spokesman in Little Rock? I’d say no. 

Gilchrist didn’t return a request for comment.

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