Sen. Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff yesterday reached a settlement agreement with the city of Pine Bluff, UAPB and a Pine Bluff police officer over her stop by police when she and a friend tried to drive to her home near the UAPB football stadium in 2007. The street was blocked because of game day traffic, but Flowers had a pass from UAPB, as other neighbors did. Despite that, she said Officer Sam Atkinson pulled his service revolver and stopped her and a friend, Linda Townsend. She contended this was unlawful.
The suit was filed in 2010. Judge Price Marshall yesterday signed an order halting further proceedings after news that the parties had reached a settlement agreement in a hearing before a magistrate.
The settlement agreement hasn’t been formalized and filed, but Ashley Hudson, one of Flowers’ attorneys, said it would produce relief Flowers had sought from the city and state agencies over training, policies and procedures officers are to follow on neighborhood access. Flowers said problems had continued for residents after the 2007 arrest. UA attorney Jeff Bell said the university had long worked to alleviate problems for neighbors. In the future it will provide copies of the permits issued to residents to police officers as well as lists of neighbors who have the passes and will contine to work to make sure all are aware of the process. “It’s good for everybody to get it resolved,” he said. “We want to keep working with neighbors.”
There is a settlement, too, as to the police officer, Atkinson, who was sued individually for allegedly pulling a gun and stopping Flowers as she tried to drive on to her house. Flowers had sought damages from him. The terms of that settlement are confidential, attorneys said. Atkinson, though a Pine Bluff officer, was working for a private security firm on that assignment and the security firm had insurance, which could be a source of a financial settlement if one is paid.