By Russ Racop
On March 22, 2021 at approximately 11:00 p.m., a man in Southwest Little Rock called the Little Rock Police Department to report his 12 year old step-daughter had runaway and taken his 2012 GMC Terrain without his permission.
LRPD cop Brian Watkins responded to that call.
Watkins has a significant disciplinary history at LRPD and was found to have falsified records in an internal investigation in 2011.
That finding of falsifying records gets Watkins the title of "Brady Cop".
Watkins went to the biological fathers residence but could not locate the vehicle. He then put out a runaway broadcast with information about the vehicle.
At approximately 1:50 a.m. LRPD cop Henry Topps, who had the call sign 3X80¹, spotted the vehicle and he attempted to stop the vehicle at Geyer Springs Road and Interstate 30.
The vehicle, driven by the 12 year old female, refused to stop and Topps activated his patrol unit blue lights and siren. Topp's made a radio broadcast about the pursuit and Sgt. Derrick Threadgill, responded saying "get off the vehicle" and "we are not chasing a 12 year old driver.
Topps turned off his light and siren, but still followed the vehicle in direct violation of Sgt. Threadgill's order.
The vehicle driven by the 12 year old stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Mablevale Cuttoff and Chicot Road. Topps pulled up behind the vehicle and activated his lights again.
LRPD cop Joshua Thomas had heard the radio calls and arrived at the intersection from the opposite direction and positioned his vehicle in front of the vehicle driven by the 12 year old. This "boxing in" the vehicle violated LRPD policy but Thomas tried to later justify it by saying he thought the vehicle was involved in a kidnapping of a child and he was not clear about the call being about a runaway child driving a vehicle without permission.
Topps exited his vehicle and approached it. Topps observed a a young Hispanic female in the driver's seat and she drove off at a high rate of speed.
Topps jumped back in his vehicle and gave chase at speeds up to 102 mile per hour going out of the city limits of Little Rock into Saline County.
The vehicle driven by the 12 year old female ran off the road hit trees and overturned near Chicot Road and White Oak Pond Road.
Topps and Thomas went to the vehicle and found one male child deceased and another male child and the female child trapped in the vehicle.
The Saline County Sheriff's Office responded and took over the accident investigation.
LRPD initiated an investigation and charged Topps with several violations of policy including untruthfulness. NOTE: Topps name was redacted from the investigative file LRPD provide us but we were able to identify him by the reference to his call sign that day²
Here is what Topps said at his administrative hearing. Topps had the audacity to say he "could not be a hero in every situation".
Thomas was charged with policy violations as well.
Here is what Thomas said at his administrative hearing.
Even though Topps action resulted in the death of a child he only received a verbal counseling.
Thomas caught 40 hours of suspension.
Thomas is still working at LRPD. Topps resigned on January 13, 2022.
LRPD has killed several individuals in connection with pursuits. This video is an example of one such incident.
Records obtained via FOI requests reveal that LRPD has in the last couple of years called in the Arkansas State Police for pursuits to let them perform PIT maneuvers to pass the blame for deaths off on them.
We posted a video on YouTube that featured Thomas and Topps back in March from an incident in December 2020.
No wonder LRPD has the sorry reputation it does and has difficulty hiring qualified, decent individuals.
No mention of this death and the wrongdoing of these LRPD cops back last year.
No doubt the former corrupt former chief and the feckless mayor did not want the bad publicity the story would generate in an election year.
We have requested videos associated with this incident and will post an update when they are received.
***UPDATE - Aug 3, 2022***
LRPD finally provided videos that contained illegal redactions.
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UPDATE: 07/22/22 3:36 p.m.
We posted details about LRPD cop Brian Watkins being one of the LRPD cops on their Liars List.
Today Max Brantley with the Arkansas Times obtained a report from the Saline County Sheriff's Office.
In that report it is noted that Watkins told a Saline County Sheriff's Office Deputy
he was involved in the high speed chase.
Look at what he said in a signed statement in the LRPD internal investigation.
Once a cop is branded as a liar, they cannot be rehabilitated or viewed as a credible individual. Any case they are involved in is spoiled.
LRPD has 75 of them and they need to get rid of them.