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.
UPDATE: We’ve posted excerpts of the dash footage above.
They 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 this 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.