LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For months allegations involving Little Rock’s Police Chief have been growing, and tensions came to a head this week as the city Board of Directors tabled a vote of no confidence in the Chief.
Officers from the department’s two biggest groups, the Black Police Officer’s Association, BPOA, and the Fraternal Order of Police, FOP, are sharing their takes on the discord.
The BPOA and FOP stand divided when it comes to Chief Keith Humphrey.
Earlier this year the BPOA came out in support of the Chief, saying its membership also held a vote where the majority voted that they had confidence in the Chief. The BPOA represents around 130 officers.
“Give him a fair chance, this is ridiculous,” said BPOA Vice President Lt. Andre Dyer.
The FOP, which currently represents more than 95 percent of officers, took a vote where the majority of members said they had no confidence in the Chief.
“We do have some concerns,” said FOP President Sgt. Zachary Farley. “We’re not going to comment on anything out of litigation going on.”
Sgt. Farley in part referenced the lawsuit Chief Humphrey filed in September. He’s suing the FOP, along with several other officers and city employees, claiming they’re part of a conspiracy to get the Chief out of office.
Since the beginning of the year, 5 lawsuits were filed against the Chief by several employees who claimed retaliation and harassment.
“In order to make sure there’s a fair process for both sides, we don’t want to comment on any of that,” Sgt. Farley explained.
BPOA President Sgt. Rodney Lewis had a different take.
“This is not all about Chief Humphrey. This is not all about his integrity. It’s about these people conspiring against a sitting Chief,” Sgt. Lewis said.
Lewis made that case during public comment at Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting, arguing the Chief is challenging the status quo.
“Reform is coming, reform is here,” Sgt. Lewis said. “The old way of policing is gone. We have to allow this man the opportunity to put things in place.”
Meanwhile the FOP has faced criticism that it’s leaders want to clear up.
“The Fraternal Order of Police is absolutely not a racist organization,” Sgt. Farley said. “It is unfortunate that race keeps coming up because the truth is that is completely false.”
Both sides are now waiting for the process to play out in court.
“We have to make sure integrity is at its highest level because of the job we do,” Sgt. Farley said.
“Honestly and truly allow people, the Chief, to do his job,” Lt. Dyer said.
The city Board of Directors is still weighing a no-confidence vote in the Chief. It’s set to take that up at its meeting on December 29.