LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said Monday evening that embattled Little Rock Police Department Chief Keith Humphrey will face “no disciplinary action” following a human resources investigation.
Noting that it was not customary or advised comment on personnel matter, Scott said he thought he needed to share the decision to wrap the months-long investigation and “move forward with the necessary steps to ultimately improve public safety for Little Rock residents.”
In a statement, the mayor said he had reviewed a report compiled by Loretta Cochran and submitted to City Manager Bryce Moore and had discussed the matter with the city attorney.
Scott said that the city needed to “avoid any appearance of impropriety or bias in employee investigations” and cited “affiliations” of Cochran’s, as well as donations the mayor claims she made to a GoFundMe campaign to one of the people who filed a complaint against Humphrey.
In an email from August, Cochran claimed that Humphrey and two other high-ranking Little Rock Police Department officers were involved in “racial discrimination, hostile working conditions, and retaliation.”
The email was part of her review into the situation surrounding the firing of Officer David Mattox, which Cochran described as “a clear indication of racial discrimination, hostile working conditions, and retaliation” by Humphrey, Asst. Chief Crystal Haskins and Lt. Brittney Gunn.
On Monday, the mayor said Cochran’s report itself was flawed, offering “many conclusory statements without actual findings of fact” and “misstating or misinterpreting the relevant legal standards.” While offering the claim that the evidence she put forward in the report, “does not support the complaints filed.”
While not finding Humphrey at fault, Scott said there was still a “critical need to make procedural changes within the LRPD” following the investigation. He said an audit of the department by an independent group covering 15 points will be presented to the city board of directors Tuesday and be made public on the city’s official website.
The mayor also said he was having Humphrey launch a taskforce comprised of members of the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police and the Black Police Officers Association to build an action plan for how the department to implement plans coming out of the audit.
Wrapping his statement, Scott said that no one who works for the city is “above reproach and corrective action” and that he sees Little Rock as a “fair, equitable place to work.” At the same time, he noted that his main focus would remain on combating the growing levels of crime in the city.
“Public safety remains the top priority of this administration,” Scott said in the statement. “We are intently focused on doing all within our power to reduce violent crime, and it is my hope that by putting this behind us, we can limit distractions and focus on the collective work to move our city forward together.”