The Little Rock Board of Directors approved the first hate crimes city ordinance in the state. The meeting’s YouTube video feed cut-off before discussion of the ordinance happened, but Ward 3 Director Kathy Webb and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. are celebrating the law’s passage on Twitter.
@CityLittleRock becomes 1st city in AR 2 pass hate crimes ordinance. TY @kendrakpruitt Tom Carpenter @FrankScottJr Bruce Moore @CapiPeck & especially Aaron Alquist & Dave Barkey from @ADL 4 your tireless work. And LRCity Board for approving! @leagueofcities @ARMuniLeague pic.twitter.com/grA69YyU2I
— Kathy Webb (@KathyLWebb) July 8, 2020
Tonight the @CityLittleRock Board passed an ordinance to establish an enhanced penalty for certain misdemeanors that qualify as Hate Crimes. I want to thank Director @KathyLWebb for her leadership on this issue! Recognizing the value of everyone is important as we #UniteLR! pic.twitter.com/bfIcbB2z3d
— Frank Scott, Jr. (@FrankScottJr) July 8, 2020
(I previously reported that the board passed a resolution to “strongly urge” landlords to cease evictions or delay future eviction actions amid the pandemic. But the board was simply voting to add it to the agenda. It was deferred for two weeks, Director Ken Richardson tells me.)
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Little Rock Police Officer Ronnie Morgan, the president of the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, asked the board to consider removing Civil Service Commissioner Ali Ali Bey, previously known as Henry Akins (and still listed that way on the city website). Morgan said during a civil service commission hearing last year, Bey told a witness there were two U.S. Constitutions, which Morgan said was a belief commonly held by people claiming to be sovereign citizens, who believe laws don’t apply to them.
City Attorney Tom Carpenter said that he had learned, just before the meeting, that Bey had stated in court that he is not subject to the laws of the United States. Carpenter said if the court transcript reflected that, he would suggest that Bey be removed if he doesn’t resign.
Bey provided a statement to KATV Channel 7 that begins, “I’ve claimed my Nationality approximately 2 years ago. I’m of Moorish American Descent that derived form the country Morocco, which is now called America from our ancient Mother’s and Father’s of Pangaea.” And continues along from there.