Temperature’s rising in the boiling pot that is the Little Rock Police Department.
Today new heat comes from Michael Laux, the civil rights lawyer who blasts parties unknown for releasing information from a job application at the LRPD by Karen Hunter.
She was the subject of news reports last week that suggested Chief Keith Humphrey was a friend and had given her assistance in an application to a manger’s job paying up to $80,000. The job hasn’t been filled and, through intermediaries, Humphrey has denied a role in the hiring process. A report on KARK raised questions about some elements of her application. In addition to information about her job application, the KARK report included police video of Humphrey in the vicinity of Hunter’s home one morning.
Laux characterizes publication of the information as a “leak” of material submitted to the city in confidence.
In the news release, Laux said the information was released to damage Humphrey, who faces three lawsuits from police employees, including two assistant chiefs, and who has been criticized publicly by two city directors. He enjoys the support of the man who hired him, Mayor Frank Scott Jr.
Laux’s news release points a finger at the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, a public critic of the chief, because the chief fired Officer Charles Starks for an incident involving use of deadly force. The FOP also opposed Scott’s mayoral candidacy, Laux says.
The release calls for a police internal investigation to determine sources of the information; discipline of the person who did it (if a police officer, presumably), and whether the act amounted to insubordination. He said Hunter might seek “legal redress.”
Laux isn’t the only person rising to the chief’s defense today. I’ve heard again from Marion Humphrey, a retired judge and lawyer who’s spoken up before for the chief, who’s not a relative. He’s not working for the chief but is a friend. He contributes this note:
I believe readers need to know that the sleazy political campaign against Chief Humphrey is coming mostly from police officers who do not live in Little Rock. There have been three lawsuits filed and nine officers are involved. They are:60CV-20-2718Hayward Finks—Little RockReginald Parks—Little RockDuane Finks—Bryant60CV-20-2799Alice Fulk—MaumelleChristina Plummer—Cabot60CV-202847Russell King—GreenbriarChris McCauley—CabotRusty Rothwell—BentonKandice Hause—Little RockCHARLES STARKS also lives in Cabot.This is certain to be an issue in upcoming city elections. Who are they that they should determine who is chief of police in Little Rock? They only work here.Fulk has filed a motion for her case to be transferred from Judge Alice Gray to Judge Chris Piazza for “judicial economy” because it is “closely-related” to the case Hayward Finks filed that is in Piazza’s court. Didn’t her lawyers know that at first, since they are the same lawyers in all three cases? They filed these cases separately for political effect and drama.