LRPD RELUCTANT TO RELEASE VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDINGS OF INCIDENT INVOLVING REV. BENNY JOHNSON - FOR GOOD REASON, TO AVOID EMBARASSMENT
After reviewing a dozen DVD's the Little Rock Police Department had to be forced to release, we can understand why they did not want them to get out into the light of day.
They reveal officers as over-worked and beleaguered to the point of questioning their choice of profession – one actually makes that comment.
Another claims that after finding out who Rev. Johnson was and another man that also called in to report shots fired (also a preacher living in a nearby neighborhood) that it was a “set up.”
One that knew Rev. Johnson was too embarrassed (or afraid) to go talk to him.
Officers also state that one officer overreacted and got all the others stirred up.
After the fact, the one officer that yelled out “gun” and almost got Rev. Johnson shot, claimed Johnson was “standing in the window with a bunch of weapons just chillin’.”
It is our opinion that if Rev. Johnson had not backed away from the window when they heard the one officer shout “gun”, and they all shined lights on his window, he would have been shot had he moved what the officer thought was a gun away from his head.
One interesting thing is that one reason LRPD was not going to release two videos to us initially (which turned out to be many more) was because they claimed they contained personnel information.
City Attorney Tom Carpenter said the "personnel information" was a personnel number.
One of the videos actually has an officer state his personnel number over the radio to someone and it was not masked in the DVD provided to use after a two day battle to get LRPD to cooperate and release the videos pursuant to a Freedom of Information request
One video did have the audio drop out for 8 minutes, and we believe it was due to the officer turning off his microphone to avoid having the conversation recorded.
We are in the process of making a video from the 15 DVD's and one CD of the 911 calls and subsequent radio traffic so that you can see and hear it all for yourself.
It was from that radio traffic (and a list of officers that had been given to Rev. Johnson the day following his avoidable experience) that we realized we had not been given all the video/audio recordings of the officers that responded.
Here is how this saga unfolded.
We sent a FOI request to LRPD on October the 8th, after they claimed that they busted down a communal hallway door believing that a man was trying to kill himself. They had mistaken a cellphone for a handgun and the man they saw was Rev. Johnson - one of the individuals that had called 911 after hearing multiple gunshots.
LRPD sent this response.
We sent this back.
Then LRPD sent this.
Yes, apparently Sgt. Prater is not tech-savvy. So we sent this.
Apparently LRPD was concerned that we might have some malicious software on a DVD that would damage their DVD duplicator. Readers will recall a similar request we made last month in which we called out the city on their BS. You can read about that by clicking here, here and here.
Our email must have gotten the point across, or perhaps it was the telephone conversion we had with city attorney Carpenter.
So the next day we attempted to copy the DVD but it was going to take hours so we left DVD's for LRPD to burn us copies. We were able to copy a CD of the 911 calls and radio traffic.
The following day, we received notification that the DVD's were ready and we asked for some missing documents (which we have never received)
After viewing the video's we found that one appeared to have been cut off in mid sentence.
Then we received an email from Carpenter.
We told Carpenter there was still information sought that had not been provided.
And this email showed up.
And we sent this back.
That got things ramped up a bit and we got a reach-around from KTB.
Then another telephone conversation with our friend Tom took place. Short sory is that he agreed that under the AFOIA, LRPD had to release those DVD's and remove exempt material (those pesky personnel numbers) from non-exempt material.
And then we received this. We laughed so hard we almost sharted.
Why LRPD and the city fights so hard to hide the things they try to hide is very telling about our city leadership.
We suspect that the city/LRPD expects most folks to just give up.
Not us. We are not most folks and they should know that by now. We are for truth and transparency and we will get it. You can take that to the bank.
#CLEANOUTLRCITYHALL #TIMEFORCHANCE #EPLURIBUSUNUM #WOKE
Look for that video to be released next week. It will be worth the wait.