A Key Case in Conway
In the town Conway, close to Little Rock, Arkansas, a man passed away through a struggle with police officers. This man was caught shoplifting, and when he was confronted by police officers, he ran instead of allowing himself to be handcuffed. While he hit his head on a shelf and fell to the floor, officers swiftly pinned him down to ensure that he could stay still and be handcuffed. Morris, the man, could be heard saying that he couldn’t breathe, multiple times. The officers had placed their legs on his back and legs. He was also crying for medical help.
The result of his demise was concluded as the combination of resistance to the officers, as well as the effects of the drugs he had been taking. The officers were cleared of wrongdoing, because prosecutors determined that the officer’s use of force was justified and reasonable given the circumstances. They note that if Morris had submitted to arrest, his death could have been avoided. This incident is somewhat controversial, as the mayor of Conway observed some things he deemed were “concerning” while reviewing the bodycam footage, and he called for some of the officers who made the arrest to be put on paid leave during the internal investigation.
The incident surrounding George Floyd is what drew more attention to the events of Morris and Conway. Awareness surrounding police brutality has grown, as individuals are calling for more justice concerning incidents of police brutality and demanding reformation of police departments. It is important to raise awareness, as building claims against criminal defense lawyers is a tedious and costly process, which may be mitigated with the rising support in the population to seek justice for unjust acts.
A Task Force in Arkansas
In Little Rock, Arkansas, the need for improved law enforcement training, increased racial understanding, and accountability in law enforcement, have made themselves evident, either by individual protests or by the national consciousness regarding police brutality. Fred Weatherspoon, deputy director of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, has appointed a task force, as an opportunity for their law enforcement to “regain the trust of citizens throughout their communities.”
Their objectives include to review law enforcement training, policy and operations, and community policing, with specific relations to cultural, racial, and community relations. They will also study and analyze the process for accountability, discipline, removal, and decertification of officers who do not meet the standards. Finally, they will make recommendations to the Governor on enhancing trust between law enforcement and communities, as well as on improvements or changes needed to enhance the profession of law enforcement to ensure compliance with standards. Weatherspoon’s father was treated with excessive force by police during an arrest when he was 10 years old. Perhaps collective awareness and experiences of these incidents will push the needle towards more just law enforcement.