Hearing Underway In LRPD Captain's Discrimination Suit Against City Of Little Rock

Jun 25, 2015

Little Rock Assistant Fire Chief Greg Summers spoke as a witness in a Pulaski County Court hearing Thursday in a discrimination suit against the City of Little Rock and former Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas.

The suit, brought by Little Rock Police Department Captain Patrice Smith, an an African American, alleges the department employed discriminatory hiring practices in its selection of an assistant police chief.

Smith alleges department improperly promoted then Captain Wayne Bewley as acting assistant chief for longer than the legally allowed period in 2012 before hiring him permanently. Smith and her attorneys allege Bewley had an unfair advantage during the hiring process.

Assistant Chief Summers was on the 2012 panel that examined the candidates for assistant chief. Attorneys for the plaintiff questioned Summers about his inability to decipher his notes from the examination or produce documentation about the basis of his hiring decision. Attorneys also questioned why the city decided not to record the hiring decision process for assistant chief. 

Former LRPD Chief Stuart Thomas told the court in a deposition he had extended Bewley’s temporary role as assistant chief in 2012 beyond the 60-day limit allowed by law for financial reasons.

Smith was a defendant in a 2002 federal discrimination case four female officers brought against her for race and sex-based discrimination. That case was settled by the city. 

LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner assumed his role in July of 2014 following the retirement of Stuart Thomas.