Missed this yesterday. It’s an official attorney general’s opinion, in response to a question posed by Little Rock Officer Joshua Hastings, about a decision by the department to open investigative files concerning Hastings’ 10-day suspension. The attorney general said he agreed that the material should be disclosed.
This isn’t as hopeful as it sounds. The attorney general continues to uphold secrecy for investigations of misconduct that do not result in suspension or firing of police officers. However, the opinion did say that it was proper to release the full file on Hastings’ suspension, including references to a previous disciplinary action that did not result in suspension. It “implicated public safety” the opinion said. The opinion doesn’t reveal the nature of the suspension, but the person requesting the record had asked for records pertaining to failure to respond to a radio signal, speeding and untruthfulness in an internal affairs investigation. Hastings has also been in the news because black officers complained about his hiring despite his admission that he had once attended a KKK meeting.
Access to police records has been at issue recently in LRPD because of the video of Lt. David Hudson repeatedly hitting a bar patron in the face after he questioned Hudson’s order that he leave a room at Ferneau, a restaurant and bar in Hillcrest where Hudson was providing private security. The police have refused to reveal internal deliberations on Hudson’s three other previous uses of force, none of which resulted in suspensions.