A few more notes about news not yet fully developed:
* POLICE FORCE: Speaking of use of force by the Little Rock police. I’m told that at least two more federal lawsuits are in the offing about Little Rock police use of deadly force. Michael Laux already has a suit pending in the death of Eugene Ellison, the elderly father of black police officers shot in his own apartment by officers working private security. The circumstances in the new cases will raise again, at a minimum, how well officers comply with explicit department rules on use of force; the adequacy and sophistication of police response to dangerous people, sometimes mentally unstable but not necessarily criminal, and, most of all, the department’s failure to act responsibly against officers when procedures aren’t followed. Pressure should increase for independent review of police actions. The resistance from the Fraternal Order of Police will be fierce and, unfortunately, continue to pit many white officers against many black officers.
* BIG VERDICT IN PINE BLUFF: I haven’t been unable to run down the precise details, but I heard the outline Friday of a $1 million judgment in federal court in Pine Bluff in favor of a pharmaceutical salesman who was fired for blowing the whistle on a doctor who was ordering a cheaper IUD contraceptive from Canada and charging Medicaid for the higher-priced product approved for sale in the U.S. The lawsuit was decided by Judge James Moody, who has some additional penalty questions under advisement.
* A CANDIDATE WITH COURAGE: Republicans are about to wet their pants over video that shows Rep. Linda Tyler, a candidate for state Senate in Conway, saying she had weighed strong arguments on both sides but ultimately voted for medical marijuana, influenced by sick people she knew who’d turned to the drug for relief. Republicans would rather wage a war on drugs than help sick people. Nuance and compassion are not a part of their game plan on this or any other issue — it’s all hot button, all black-and-white, all the time. There ARE reasons to vote against medical marijuana. I found enough in favor to vote for it. But the Republicans are saying compassion for sick people is not a “Conway value.” Sadly, they may prove to be right. Tyler has been distinguished by courage on other tough issues, including medical autonomy for women. Her opponent is an opportunistic and intellectually dishonest extremist who’d deny birth control pill coverage to women. He is not alone. And people like him may wind up in the majority in Arkansas. Wonder if they’ll require a salute to the Confederate flag if Terry Rice becomes speaker? Confederate sympathizers will be part of the triumph if the Mauch-Hubbard-Fuqua stooge posse helps power the GOP to a majority. Perhaps a coat hanger flag could be a symbol, too. Tyler’s opponent, Jason Rapert, filed a bill that would require mandatory vaginal probes in the early stage of pregnancy for women seeking abortions. UPDATE: Tyler’s campaign notes that he ducked appearing on the same TV show on which Tyler was taped to avoid answering questions about his record, including a vote against the major funding bill for education.
* HOG LINEBACKER ARRESTED: Channel 4 reports a DWI arrest this morning of linebacker Terrell Williams.
* BUILDING A NEIGHBORHOOD: The flyer below is for an event next weekend that’s part of the ongoing process of revitalizing South Main, an effort that’s off to a great start thanks to smart thinking, sweat and cash equity and attractive reuse of one of the small commercial stretches spared in the bad old days of urban renewal, when parking lots were king. SOMA is for real. PS: Here’s a link to more information on Popup Main Street.