Arkansas Stop the Violence, a grassroots group focused on stemming violence, particularly in black neighborhoods, issued a statement today calling for an “independent” investigation of the police fatal shooting Monday night of Roy Lee Richards.
Officer Dennis Hutchins shot Richards after responding to a disturbance call in the 500 block of East Eighth. According to preliminary accounts, Hutchins shot Richards multiple times because Richards was pursuing and pointing a gun (it proved later to be a pellet rifle) at his uncle, with whom he’d been arguing.
Stop the Violence said that, on account of the “botched investigation” of the police shooting of Eugene Ellison, an outside investigator should review the case. “We do not want the same thing to occur in this case.”
Ellison, father of one former and one current Little Rock officer, was killed inside his apartment by a shot fired from outside by one of two officers working off-duty as security officers in the apartment complex. They said he’d threatened them with a cane. The shooting was found to be justifiable, but the Ellison family’s attorney, Michael Laux has asked that the prosecuting attorney re-examine the case for possible criminal charges. Ellison was shot by Donna Lesher, whose husband was supervisor of the homicide unit that investigated the shooting. Laux said that was a conflict. He’s also said other police officers have testified in a separate police deadly force case about missteps in the Ellison investigation, including a failure to consider an autopsy finding on the trajectory of the fatal bullet. It conflicted with statements of police on the scene.
Laux said today that Pulaski Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley had informed him by letter that he’d received the request and additional information Laux had provided in the Ellison case and would review it.
As is customary, the Little Rock police are reviewing the Richards shooting Tuesday night and will give findings to Jegley, who’ll make a decision on whether it was justified.