A prominent civil rights attorney and Arkansas state representative who sponsored the passage of a 2015 bill protecting the right of citizens to film events in public places was arrested along with another attorney today while filming police.
Details are scant and one-sided at the moment (coming solely from the police report), but at approximately 11 a.m., officers initiated a traffic stop of a car without a license plate. During the course of the stop, both the driver and passenger were discovered to have warrants out for their arrest. Representative Walker and Attorney Omavi Kushukuru began filming the arrest, at which point, one of the suspects under arrest asked Walker why he was filming it, to which he replied: "I'm just making sure they don't kill you."
Officer J. Roberts and another officer then tried to speak with Walker, but allege that he spoke over them in an "antagonistic and provocative" manner, at which point, they returned to the traffic stop, leaving him to film it. At this point, as officers began to arrest the second suspect, Kushukuru and Walker moved into the zone of the stop, walking between the patrol car and the suspect's car and ignoring commands to leave the area. After arresting Kushukuru, officers commanded Walker to leave the area, at which point, he replied, "arrest me." He was then taken into custody, charged with obstructing governmental operations, and held on $1,000 bond.
As mentioned above, all details come solely from the Little Rock Police Department, as neither Walker or Kushukuru have commented on the incident yet. The Arkansas Times reports that a dash-cam was in operation, though that footage has not been released. It's also worth noting that in 1998, Walker was arrested on the exact same charge in a similar circumstance in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, after which he successfully sued the city.
You can read the full arrest report here.
[via UALR Public Radio]
Lead image by Flickr user Scott Davidson, used under Creative Commons.