First, anytime a bystander is shot by police, that had nothing to do with the incident in question, it is vital that all information is given in a transparent manner. As we often say, law enforcement operates in a rapidly evolving environment and it is not a perfect science. Mistakes and errors happen whenever human performance is involved and the truth must serve as a way to determine whether mistakes, a crime or just a traffic outcome occurred.
With that said, it is certainly odd that the shooting of an innocent bystander, that happens to be a young black female, has garnered little if no attention both in the local and national press in the United States. Just a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Police Department responded to the report of an active shooter in a retail store and tragically a young girl was killed in the ensuing gunfire. That agency has faced mounting criticism and multiple demands from activist groups.
We aren’t huge fans of hypocrisy and when it comes to hypocrites, current and former Little Rock police officers are speaking out.
Below is a letter written from former Little Rock Police Officer Mike Simpson. He wrote the letter to Chief Humphrey and Mayor Scott the day after the shooting and prior to the newest revelations being revealed.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and LRPD Chief Humphrey,
First and foremost, Chief Humphrey, I must extend my deepest apologies to you and your family during this hard time. Before I reach my opinion, I must state I personally know how difficult of a time this must be for you. I hope your employer is as accommodating to you and my friend as mine was when I experienced such a critical incident. From the available sources online, and video, it would appear to be a legally justified shooting. Right place at the right time am I right? Good for you. Too bad you are a terrible shot and struck a vehicle instead of the threat to public safety. You must always be aware of your backdrop, I believe you said the same thing 3 years ago. Had there been a person in this vehicle it is likely you would’ve killed them instead.
Additionally, there is another problem I have. You didn’t have a body camera. Yet all brass was required to wear one. We wear body cameras across the country as standard practice. This increases our credibility when the recording is able to verify our statements in court and online. And for the community, this provides the transparency that they desperately deserve. You not only failed to activate a body camera, after demanding everyone wear one, you refused to equip yourself with this technology while on patrol. You are a police officer and you must still follow these rules, regardless of your position in Little Rock.
Common practice for this specific violation during an officer involved shooting is termination. What led to or what occurred does not matter. You failed to wear the equipment. This practice is even a local practice, as every PD and Sheriff’s Dept enforces this very heavily. Benjamin Crump has even traveled to Arkansas, quite recently, and represented for “Hunters Law” requiring officers to wear their body cameras or face criminal charges. You and Mayor Scott have even voiced this several times. With the precedent you have set for your officers I expect to see a resignation letter soon. Shall we see you stay true to your word?
Mayor Frank Scott,
You have voiced this as well. Officers who fail to wear their body camera should face termination. Chief Humphrey is no different. Regarding your relationship with Chief Humphrey I find no one to blame for his involvement other than you. It has been recommended by the City Council and a significant majority of the Dept that he is unqualified for his position. The citizens themselves have stated this. However, you have stood adamantly by his side, regardless of the lawsuits that would’ve had any other officer terminated on the spot. Well, the time has come to practice what you preach. Terminate the officer who refused to wear a body cam, shot at a civilian and struck another person’s vehicle.
If you would’ve terminated the Police Chief when it was recommended by the Dept and City Council then you wouldn’t have found this in your lap during campaign season. I have personally suffered due to you and Chief Humphreys handling of my own critical incident. However, I don’t take it personally. You had to do what you had to do. It’s water under the bridge. But now, it remains to be seen if you will continue practicing the standards you have set, or if you will do anything in your power to save yourself at the expense of the citizens safety and security.
I expect a resignation or termination, but we all know this too will be water under the bridge. You have shown time and time again adamant refusal to terminate him.
If you fail to do this, to enforce this common practice, you can expect Steve Landers to walk all over you in this election. To me, this isn’t about who is going to win, this is about the citizens in this city that deserve to be protected and safe from these threats. And if you fail to protect them in your capacity there is no shortage on others who have requested your seat. So far the only thing you have managed to do is further reduce transparency in this incident. Because of this I have little faith that you have the capacity to change and begin thinking about the citizens welfare, not your own. I assume the only change that will occur is that you’ll attach a bodyguard detail to your pet. Others and myself can only pray you’ll do the right thing.
Happy New Year, I hope it treats the two of you as well as you treated me and the dozens of officers who find it impossible to work under this administration. I hope everyone agrees that it was legal shooting and Chief Humphrey should face no discipline. And, at the last minute, I hope someone you trusted goes against all recommendations and does everything he can to make your life a living hell.
Former LRPD Officer Mike Simpson