City of Little Rock settles racial discrimination lawsuit; LRPD officers speak out

City of Little Rock settles racial discrimination lawsuit; LRPD officers speak out

Capt. Tanya Washington, Lt. Earnest Whitten, Sgt. Willie Davis, and Lt. Johnny D Gilbert, Jr. filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the city on March 12, 2018 due to uneven practices in hiring, discipline and the promotion of minority officers. The complaints began in 2017.

KATV spoke with two of the four officers who filed the suit two years ago. They said this was a cause worth standing for, not just for their case, but for other minority officers in the future.

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City settles federal discrimination lawsuit filed by black LRPD officers

SETTLED: Federal discrimination lawsuit filed by black LRPD officers by attorney Mike Laux (right). Photo by: Brian Chilson

Arkansas Times article by Lindsey Millar on February 10, 2020

The city of Little Rock and one current and three former Little Rock Police officers agreed on Friday to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by the black officers in 2018. The plaintiffs were Sgt. Willie Davis and three officers who are now retired: former Lt. Earnest Whitten, former Lt. Johnny Gilbert Jr. and former Capt. Tonya Washington. Whitten is now a chief deputy at the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office. Gilbert was forced into medical retirement after he was the victim of a hit and run in 2017.

The complaint alleged racist and “uneven” practices in hiring, discipline and promotions. It included the officers raising warnings about the racist pasts of several white officers, including former officer Josh Hastings, who shot and killed 15-year-old Bobby Moore and was later charged with manslaughter. The plaintiffs were ignored or punished for raising the issues, according to the lawsuit.

Memphis family hoped authorities would stop him. She died anyway.

Alexa Imani Spencer and Laura Testino in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on January 13, 2020

Sabrina Nguyen loved her long black hair. Sometimes it went up in a bun, but most often, she wore it down. The only times she ever cut it was to trim the dead ends.

It alarmed her family, then, when a few days before Christmas, her hair was raggedly chopped to her shoulders.

It was her ex-boyfriend, again, she told her family.

He’d stolen her phone and car, court records show. A report filed with her insurance company says he physically abused her, threatened to stab her and threatened to kill himself. He threatened to cut off her hair if she didn’t comply with his sexual demands.

Nguyen gave police several accounts of her ex-boyfriend’s escalating threats and violence in the weeks before she died.

The 18-year-old’s stabbing death, the first homicide of the new year, was preventable, her family and friends said.

“I feel like (the police) failed my little sister,” said Jimmy Nguyen, Sabrina Nguyen’s older brother. “Every time we called them and told them what happened … they wasn’t really trying to help.”

Memphis police said the department did what it could: Officers arrested Keedrin K. Coppage, 22, seven times for incidents with Nguyen but whether or not he’d be released from jail was not up to police, MPD spokesperson Lt. Louis Brownlee said.

“It’s a terrible situation for any family to lose a loved one,” he said.

Statewide, 73,568 offenses reported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were flagged as domestic violence-related in 2018. That year in Memphis, the police and Shelby County sheriff’s departments implemented a new risk-assessment program, the Lethality Assessment Program, meant to reduce offenses.

Brownlee said police followed the risk-assessment steps in the case and connected Nguyen with an advocate at the Family Safety Center.

Coppage was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Friday. He was also charged with tampering and fabricating evidence in the case.

Memphis homicides:A comprehensive view of killings inside the city

‘We were hoping there was another chance for her’

Nguyen was goofy, her family said, and loved Dixie Queen hot wings, her mother’s cooking, fast cars and video games. She wasn’t shy. Her strength was in placing the problems of others before her own, which she often shielded with lighthearted humor.

“(Her death) is hard and devastating for sure, because she was such a witty and outgoing child,” said Nguyen’s oldest brother, Daniel Nguyen.

Sabrina Nguyen, 18, was killed in one of the first homicides of 2020. In the month before her death, she made several reports to police about escalating threats and violence from her ex-boyfriend, a person of interest in her killing.

By 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, the last time Jimmy Nguyen saw his younger sister, she had reported to police that Coppage had stolen her car and taken her cell phone. She told a friend she was going to meet Coppage, maybe to get her car back, her family said. She asked the friend to call the police, her brother said.

Nhung Nguyen, Sabrina Nguyen’s mother, had a bad feeling when the family got a knock on the door from police two days later, on Jan. 2. They told the family that Nguyen had been found stabbed to death less than a mile from home.

“Me and my dad, we were just in disbelief. We didn’t want to believe it,” Jimmy Nguyen said. “We were hoping there was another chance for her.”

In addition to Sabrina Nguyen’s reports, the Nguyen family estimates that they made more than 200 calls to police in the six months before Sabrina Nguyen died.

The Memphis Police Department handles about 50,000 domestic violence-related calls each year.

Larry Buser, a spokesperson for the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, declined to discuss details of pending cases or charging decisions.

“Procedurally, police investigate, we advise on charges in some cases, and handle cases in court based on investigative reports from police and/or other agencies,” Buser said. He noted that bond is determined by judges or judicial officers, and that domestic violence prosecutors frequently make motions to increase bonds.

Coppage made a $10,000 bond before an arraignment on Dec. 23.

“We were prepared to address the bond issue, but the defendant did not show up in court,” Buser said.

Judge William C. Turner, who presided over Coppage’s cases, did not respond to comment in time for publication of this story.

Tyren Joyner (from left), Kaylon Carpenter and Jimmy Nguyen talk Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, about the late Sabrina Nguyen. She was killed on Jan. 2.
Court documents show Nguyen reported stabbing attempt two weeks before her death
Records show that in December, Nguyen made reports to police that Coppage had called her over 50 times over a three-day span and was continuing to make threats that caused her to fear for her safety.

According to the affidavit, Coppage was identified in six domestic violence reports and a prior arrest for assaulting Nguyen. A warrant was issued for Coppage for harassment.

Nguyen then made an assault report to police four days later, on Dec. 10, and Coppage was arrested on scene.

Nguyen continued to receive harassing phone calls from Coppage, with messages threatening serious harm and death, court documents show.

On Dec. 16, Coppage was charged with aggravated stalking, violation of bail conditions for the earlier harassment charge, aggravated kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault.

He was arrested and released from jail on Dec. 17.

Two days later, Coppage nearly stabbed Nguyen outside 201 Poplar, according to court documents. She was attempting to appear in court for an order of protection against him when he approached her with a knife in his waistband. Coppage threatened to kill Nguyen if she made a commotion, and she was afraid for her life, she told police.

Coppage took Nguyen’s cell phones, forced her into the passenger seat of her vehicle and drove her around for hours before releasing her, court documents show. She reported the incident to police the following day. Coppage was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated stalking, robbery, aggravated assault and violation of bail conditions.

Later that night, Coppage called Nguyen. Coppage and Nguyen then were gone for nearly four days. Nguyen returned home with short hair and no car.

On. Jan. 2, Nguyen was found dead near her home.

Family and friends gathered at a candlelight vigil for Sabrina Nguyen on Jan. 5. Nguyen was killed in one of the first homicides in 2020.
Coppage was arrested on Jan. 3 by U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force who located him at a home in the 5500 block of Patsy Circle East, the same block of his last known address, court documents show. A press release stated he had warrants for first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

At the time, Coppage was a person of interest in Nguyen’s homicide, MPD said.

Coppage later admitted to being with Nguyen before and after her death on Jan. 2, court documents show. Coppage described placing her in the trunk of her car, attempting to clean blood and changing out of the clothing he was wearing at the time of her death, documents show.

Coppage said he drove Nguyen in her car to the intersection of Jackson and Maple where police later found her body at 11:40 a.m. on Jan. 2, documents show. He told police he discarded the clothing he was wearing and abandoned Nguyen’s car, court documents show.

Bond in this case was set at $500,000. A video arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning.

Nationally, Tennessee ranks fifth alongside South Carolina for its homicide rate among female victims murdered by males. That rate is 2% in Tennessee compared to 1.29% on average across the United States.

Nguyen’s family and friends want justice for her, but are unsure where to turn, they said.

“She took more than enough steps to be safe and be careful,” said Tyren Joyner, Nguyen’s brother.

Family and friends tried to do the right thing by calling police, he said. The family said they saw police cars patrolling outside their home for the three nights after Nguyen’s death, but never before.

“It’s too late,” Jimmy Nguyen said.

Hai Nguyen talks about his late daughter, Sabrina, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at his home in Memphis. Sabrina was killed on Jan. 2. She was 18.

To talk to someone about incidents of domestic violence, call:

The Family Safety Center at 901-222-4400.
National Domestic Violence Hotline to talk to an advocate about domestic violence: 1-800-799-7233.
Shelby County Crime Victims Center, which can help victims get orders of protection: 901-222-3950.
Memphis Police Domestic Violence Unit, which will talk to victims about domestic violence incidents: 901-636-3741
Alexa Imani Spencer covers breaking news for The Commercial Appeal. Reach her at or 901-304-9740. Find her on Twitter: @AlexaImani

Laura Testino covers education and children’s issues for The Commercial Appeal. Reach her at or 901-512-3763. Find her on Twitter: @LDTestino

After Weeks Complaining To Cops That Her Ex Was Placing Eerie Calls Threatening To Kill Her, Young Mother Found Stabbed To Death

Sabrina Nguyen Photo: Facebook


Sabrina Nguyen, 18, told Memphis police she suspected her ex-boyfriend, Keedrin Coppage, was behind phone calls in which a robotic voice told her she was going to die.

A young Memphis mother who was fatally stabbed last week allegedly received a series of threatening phone calls from her ex-boyfriend before she was killed, but police have yet to arrest a suspect in her connection to her death.

Sabrina Nguyen, who was stabbed to death in north Memphis on Jan. 2, had filed at least half a dozen domestic violence reports against her ex-boyfriend Keedrin Coppage, who she said repeatedly threatened to kill her weeks before her death, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by

Between Dec. 3 and Dec. 5, the 18-year-old woman, who was “fearful” for her life, told police she received more than 50 phone calls from different numbers from her ex, who uttered death threats at his former girlfriend.

Memphis police charged Coppage, 22, with misdemeanor harassment, but the sinister phone calls persisted.

On Dec. 14, Nguyen again accused Coppage of dialing her 25 times during the afternoon, threatening to “seriously harm” her, a separate criminal complaint obtained by stated. Her phone allegedly continued to ring off the hook well past midnight when a robotic voice calling from an unknown number told her that she was going to die.

“A computer-type voice told her that she was going to be killed,” the criminal complaint stated. “Also the voice referenced her draining the little love that was left; and made reference to her child.”

The call had supposedly originated from a blocked number, but Nguyen later told police she believed that it was Coppage, who was speaking through Siri to further frighten her.

Police examined Nguyen’s call logs and once again arrested Coppage, this time for stalking. He posted a $10,000 bond on Dec. 18 and was released.

Two days later, on Dec. 20, Coppage was also slapped with kidnapping, stalking, robbery, and bail violation charges, according to separate court documents. It’s unclear if Nguyen, who wasn’t named, was connected to that incident. However, Coppage managed to avoid arrest, and three days later allegedly stole Nguyen’s 2019 Nissan Sentra and her cell phone, another criminal complaint shows. Police again weren’t able to immediately locate the 22-year-old.

On Jan. 2, roughly a week later, Nguyen was fatally stabbed. Two days after that, police booked Coppage on previous felony charges. However, a spokesperson for the Memphis Police Department confirmed with that he hasn’t been charged in his ex-girlfriend’s death.

The woman’s family held a vigil for Nguyen on Sunday, CBS affiliate WREG-TV reported.

“Being around her was the best thing for me, ever,” her brother, David Nguyen, told the outlet. “Losing her is the worst thing to happen to me and I’m still grieving over it right now.”

A friend of Nguyen’s also said the former couple’s violent fallout had been simmering for several months.

“She’s even sent me voice recordings of [Coppage] admitting that he’s been beating on her since October and just saying some real vile things,” Angel Langford, Nguyen’s friend, told WREG-TV. “It was just so scary and we’d ask Sabrina where he’s at? What can we do for you? Tell us when this stuff is going on.”

Coppage is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 21, according to court records. He’s being held in a Shelby County jail. was unable to immediately reach his attorney JaKeva Dotson for comment on Wednesday.

Woman Told Police Her Ex Called Her 50 Times and Threatened Her — and Weeks Later, She Was Dead Sabrina Nguyen, 18, filed several reports and complaints against her ex-boyfriend

By Elaine Aradillas January 07, 2020 04:34 PM

For more than two weeks last month, 18-year-old Sabrina Nguyen filed several reports and complaints against her ex-boyfriend for allegedly stalking and intimidating her.

On Dec. 15, Nguyen told Memphis Police that she received eight phone calls between 12:10 a.m. and 12:27 a.m. and a computer-type voice told her she was “going to be killed,” according to filed court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

On Jan. 2, Nguyen was found stabbed to death at the intersection of Maple Drive and Jackson Avenue in Memphis, according to The Commercial-Appeal newspaper.

The following day, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Keedrin Coppage, 22. He has not been charged in Nguyen’s death, according to court documents.

On Monday, he appeared in front of a Shelby County judge for a felony theft charge related to a domestic violence case, according to court documents.

On Dec. 27, Nguyen filed a report claiming Coppage had taken her 2019 Nissan Sentra along with her phone and refused to return her vehicle, according to a court document.

He will appear in court on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge later this month as a result of Nguyen’s complaint that he called her repeatedly between Dec. 3 and 5.

“[S]he feels harassed and fearful for her safety due to his threatening and continuous, unwanted contact,” the report claims. “Nguyen stated she has been called over 50 times.”

While Coppage remains behind bars, Nguyen’s family is planning her funeral.

Her best friend told local TV station WREG that she can’t believe the situation.

“You think it won’t get to that level of your best friend dying on you,” Nguyen’s friend Heaven Langford said. “You never think your best friend is going to get murdered by this person because you just have faith in humanity and stuff like this won’t happen.” No murder charges have been filed.

Nguyen’s brother David continues to mourn her as well.

“Being around her was the best thing for me, ever” he told WREG. “Losing her is the worst thing to happen to me and I’m still grieving over it right now.”

Coppage remains in jail and has requested an appointed defense attorney.

Woman says Louisville police lied to her about rape investigation

Matthew Glowicki for the Courier Journal

Published June 19, 2018 | Updated June 29, 2019

More than 10 years after she says she was sexually assaulted, a woman is suing investigators with Louisville Metro Police claiming her case was mishandled and she was repeatedly lied to about its status.

“We trusted them,” said Salisa Luster Harrison, who says she was assaulted in her Louisville apartment by an unknown assailant. “We relied on them. We thought that they were going to do what they were supposed to do, but they did not.”

The Courier Journal typically does not name people who claim they were sexually assaulted but is doing so in this case because Luster Harrison has gone public with her lawsuit, including speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.

Claims made in a lawsuit represent only one side of the case. A police spokesman declined requests to discuss the case, saying the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Luster Harrison’s legal team includes Ben Crump, a Florida-based civil rights attorney known for taking on high-profile cases.

He represented the families of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old shot in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida, by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman; Michael Brown, an 18-year-old shot and killed in August 2014 by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; and Alesia Thomas, a 35-year-old woman who died after being kicked and hit by a Los Angeles police officer.

Louisville attorney Lonita Baker and Chicago-based attorney Mike Laux also represent Luster Harrison.

Her 27-page lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, alleges she was treated differently by Louisville police because she is African-American and seeks unspecified damages. It names 10 current or former law enforcement members as defendants.

“At best they misled her, at worst they lied to her when they told her they had tested the rape kit,” Crump said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Officer Robert Woolridge responded to a welfare check on Luster Harrison — who had missed work — but failed to investigate or call for medical assistance despite the woman’s severe injuries, the suit alleges.

The suit adds that after she was taken to the hospital, Officer Brian Tucker launched an investigation but failed to collect vital evidence from the scene and interview obvious witnesses.

The suit alleges Woolridge and Tucker did not have the rape kit fully tested, yet told Luster Harrison and prosecutors it had been and that evidence was inconclusive. Both felony and misdemeanor prosecution was denied, according to the suit, and in 2009, the case was closed.

Then, in 2015, the case was reopened amid a statewide push to test old rape kits.

The lawsuit says that Luster Harrison’s mother, Cheryl Ellis, was told that the kit would be tested due to advances in technology and that Ellis obtained police emails in which the case was described as one that “fell through the cracks in a lot of areas.”

Luster Harrison said she was told in late 2016 by Special Victims Unit Lt. David Allen that new testing did not yield any new information, but the suit claims that testing was never performed.

Ellis and Luster Harrison said Tuesday they have fought for the last decade to get answers in the case, filing records requests and leaving messages with investigators.

Crump said at Tuesday’s press conference that the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office had gotten involved in the matter.

In a statement, an office spokesperson said, “Our office has provided victim advocacy services to the family and worked with LMPD to have the kit resubmitted to the crime lab.”

Crump said he has no information to suggest Luster Harrison’s rape kit was tested as part of a recent effort across the state to clear a backlog of untested kits.

A 2015 audit mandated by the state legislature found 3,090 kits in the property of law enforcement that were never tested for possible DNA evidence.

Since the audit, more than 3,100 kits have been tested as part of the backlog initiative.

Reporter Matthew Glowicki can be reached at 502-582-4989 or

Attorney: Change In Little Rock Police No-Knock Raids Policy An Improvement

Civil rights attorneys Mike Laux (left) and Benjamin Crump at a press conference in December regarding the Little Rock Police Department's use of no-knock raids. CREDIT MICHAEL HIBBLEN / KUAR NEWS

Photo Caption: Civil rights attorneys Mike Laux (left) and Benjamin Crump at a press conference in December regarding the Little Rock Police Department’s use of no-knock raids. CREDIT MICHAEL HIBBLEN / KUAR NEWS


A civil rights attorney representing several people who claimed they were unfairly targeted by Little Rock police with no-knock raids says he’s encouraged by the department’s effort to reform its policy. On Wednesday, Police Chief Keith Humphrey unveiled a new threat assessment system that will be used to determine when carrying out a search warrant rises to the level of a no-knock raid.

Attorney Mike Laux spoke alongside 12 people in December who shared their experiences of police using explosives to enter their homes. Four others had previously filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city regarding such raids. In an interview with KUAR News, Laux said the change in policy is welcomed.

“On behalf of those clients, we are gratified that the new mayor, Frank Scott [Jr.], and the new [police] chief, Chief Humphrey, have decided to address these issues rather than burying their heads in the sand which, in my experience, has been the unfortunate norm for the city when confronted with pretty irrefutable evidence of police misconduct,” Laux said.

The department practice, which Laux has said violates residents’ Fourth Amendment rights, drew national attention last year when The Washington Post ran an opinion column from Radley Balko with the headline “Little Rock’s dangerous and illegal drug war.” It featured the story of Roderick Talley and dramatic security camera footage of officers raiding his home. A police informant allegedly said Talley had sold him cocaine, but police only found a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.

Other targets of LRPD raids tell similar stories. In addition to Roderick Talley, I’ve talked to nine other people who have been raided by the LRPD’s narcotics unit over the past two years. I’ve also reviewed more than 100 search warrants executed by the unit since 2016. According to policing and Fourth Amendment experts, these interviews and warrants show that the LRPD narcotics cops and SWAT teams are routinely violating the Fourth Amendment rights of Little Rock residents. They’re also putting people at unnecessary risk. And there’s strong evidence that, in some cases, officers have made demonstrably false statements under oath.

While Laux called the change an improvement, he said it only brings the department up to the way it should have been behaving all along. Laux also said this doesn’t change the department’s history of misconduct.

“What these changes to the policy have done based on my review of the material is really just gotten the city of Little Rock and the LRPD up to baseline where they should have been all along,” Laux said. “While we applaud these efforts, I don’t want to overstate their reach because really, what we’re looking at here is taking a system that was decidedly below baseline and now we’re going to bring it up to baseline.”

James Hartsfield’s family sues city of Little Rock and police officer who killed him

On what would be James Hartsfield’s 30th birthday, his family filed a lawsuit against the City of Little Rock and the police officer who killed him.

Author: David Lippman, THV11 DigitalPublished: 9:55 PM CDT May 13, 2019Updated: 10:58 PM CDT May 13, 2019

James Hartsfield would have turned 30 years old Monday. Instead of celebrating with him, his family filed a lawsuit against the City of Little Rock and the police officer who killed him in 2017.

“Losing a brother,” Natasha Hamilton, his sister, said Monday, “is something I never saw happening or would wish on anyone. In simpler words, it’s hell on earth.”

According to a statement from the Little Rock Police Department, Hartsfield was suspected of being drunk when Gunn approached his vehicle in the parking lot of Local Union on October 7, 2017.

She approached him and got into the passenger’s side of his car, and as the drove away, she shot him before it crashed through a brick wall and ended up in the middle of N. University Ave.

Mike Laux, the family’s attorney, showed during a news conference to announce the lawsuit dash-cam footage from two of the other officers who responded to the scene and gave his criticism of Gunn’s statements about the incident.

“She says that she saw James driving in his car and that he had an open bottle of beer that she had noted,” Laux said of Gunn’s explanation. “From what I’ve heard from people who know James, he didn’t drink.”

Gunn was working an off-duty shift as a security guard at Local Union, a nightclub that stays open until 5:00 a.m. Laux said Hartsfield, who drove for Lyft, was there at 4:15 a.m. to pick up a rider.

Gunn had her patrol car there and was wearing her police uniform at the time.

“The point of this is that she should’ve had an NVR dashboard cam set up in her vehicle,” Laux explained. “We should be able to hear everything that was said between the two of them because she should’ve been mic’d up. She wasn’t mic’d up, and that’s another question mark and that’s another red flag.”

Laux showed video from the car of Officer Nicolas Smith, who Gunn called for as backup. It shows him run to the driver’s side to attempt to pull Hartsfield from the car while Gunn is in the passenger side.

At one point, Smith can be heard asking if the car is in park. “Is it in park?” Laux repeated. “They don’t even know what’s going on.”

Eight seconds later, the car starts moving, showing that it was not in park while the officers engaged with Hartsfield.

Another video from a dash-cam of a different LRPD officer shows the car breaking through the brick wall and onto University.

Laux highlighted that if Gunn had been more patient, additional help would have arrived a few seconds later.

“Everything that you see here,” Laux said, pointing to the video on a projector screen, “reflects, just a gross misunderstanding of the limits of authority for officers.”

Gunn was thrown from the car after it crashed. Officers rushed to check on her, but Laux said it took them eight minutes to check on Hartsfield, who was still in the car.

“Now, this investigation at this point is a criminal homicide investigation,” Laux said. “James is a criminal homicide victim. Gunn is a criminal homicide suspect, okay? That’s the in-house system here in Little Rock. That’s when they investigate themselves, right? So, when you investigate yourselves, this is what you get. Is James’s heart, is his heart beating? Is he alive right now? Does he need a tourniquet? Can he be saved?”

Several of Hartsfield’s relatives sat at a table during Laux’s presentation, often crying while he played the footage of the shooting.

“I have to trust and believe that whatever I go through, that my brother is guiding me through everything,” Lauren Hartsfield said. “And I just miss my brother!”

Laux claimed that Gunn was only partly to blame. He said her actions were part of a larger trend within LRPD to display reckless aggression while making traffic stops.

He showed video of multiple past incidents in which officers approached drivers with guns drawn. One of which, from 2005, ended with the driver starting a high-speed chase that resulted in his death.

Laux also showed part of a deposition from 2016 in which he asked the head of the training unit at the time about Officer Kelly Lepore’s actions in that 2005 traffic stop.

“They knew about this in 2016, before James was killed,” Laux added. “So, they knew about it in 2005. They watched that video when this went down; they watch all the videos for police-involved shootings, they knew what Kelly LePore did. They let her train Josh Hastings; we know what Josh Hastings did.”

Hastings lost a civil trial after shooting and killing Bobby Moore in 2012.

“We know how he deals with cars and deadly force, we know that really well, don’t we? So, 2016, tag, you’re it! You now know. If you didn’t know, now you know.”

Laux said several officers have been investigated and cleared after using deadly force or what he described as aggressive tactics. He painted a picture of a police department that does not adequately train or hold accountable its officers and said James Hartsfield’s death was the end result.

“If we’re [truthful] about using examples as training, as a basis to train going forward, I mean, we need look no further than this,” he stated.

“And this is something that they didn’t think about: how it affected us, and the fact that we have to go through our life and he’s not here,” Lauren Hartsfield added.

Spokespersons for LRPD and the City of Little Rock declined to comment about the lawsuit. Local Union did not respond to a request for a statement.

More victims claim LRPD raided homes using no knock warrants with SWAT teams

More victims claim LRPD raided homes using no knock warrants with SWAT teams

Lawyers for those who said Little Rock police have burst into their homes for no reason said they have as many 50 clients and are leveling accusations against the city.

Author: Rolly HoytPublished: 5:48 PM CST February 26, 2019Updated: 7:36 PM CST February 26, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Lawyers for those who said Little Rock police have burst into their homes for no reason said they have as many 50 clients and are leveling accusations against the city. They claim that the LRPD mandated using SWAT teams for every search warrant.

Attorneys Mike Laux and Benjamin Crump represent Roderick Talley, whose video of an explosive search of his apartment for drugs has millions of social media shares.

“It is a mandate from the office of the chief of police that the SWAT team executes all search warrants,” Laux said. He was reading from a partially redacted internal memo from 2014 that he says shows the department was under orders to come with as much force as possible when on narcotics raids.

“I literally thought that I was going to die,” said Samone Whitaker, who is the latest person to bring her story to the civil rights lawyers. “Then I hear ‘Police, search warrant’ and then I thought, ‘Oh my God they’re going to kill me.’”

Whitaker’s account matches Talley’s incident, which he captured on a home security camera. It features an explosive charge blowing his door across the room as he slept on a sofa followed by a team of officers in tactical gear and armed with rifles.

In many of the cases, including Talley’s the warrants were secured in expectation the subject would have large quantities of drugs and would be armed. Instead, the lawyers say police usually find only traces of marijuana. Laux said if those mistakes are happening because judges are just rubber-stamping warrant requests, the police are breaking the law.

“You have to articulate a basis for each and everyone,” Laux said. “That’s required by the Constitution.”

The lawyers said as more people have come forward, more of their charges are being dropped by prosecutors.

And they warn that a raid last month in Houston that left two people dead and injured five officers could easily happen here.

“Is it going to take somebody getting killed like in Houston to bring an end to these unconstitutional, unnecessary Little Rock no-knock raids,” Crump said.

Through a spokesperson, Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter refused to comment on the case because of the pending litigation.

The LRPD also withheld comment while promising a reporter to provide a number of search warrants the department issued this year and how many included a SWAT team.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. has called for a task force to investigate the department’s policies. Laux and Crump said they are very encouraged by what they’ve heard from the Mayor since he took office.