Arkansas Law Enforcement

A man accused of shooting at people trying to escape a burning house in Helena-West Helena has been arrested.

According to police, a 31-year-old man was arrested Sunday and is being held on a $1 million bond. He faces 12 counts of attempted first-degree murder, arson and illegal possession of a firearm.

Authorities say occupants reported the back of the home had been set on fire on Sept. 23. Police say as people tried to exit the home through the front door, two men dressed in dark clothing shot at them, forcing them back inside.

Judge Wendell Griffen at Truthful Tuesday on the steps of the state Capitol in 2014.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen has set March 1 and 2 as hearing dates to consider the constitutionality of a state law allowing lethal injection drug types to be kept secret.

The plaintiffs in the case argue such secrecy clouds their ability to challenge a potentially cruel and unusual form of punishment. Eight Arkansas inmates currently await execution.

lonoke county sheriff Jeff Staley
KATV, Channel 7 News

A debate involving Lonoke County Sheriff's deputies has residents questioning the separation between church and state. KATV, Channel 7 News reports that Sheriff John Staley says the LCSO might be adding ‘In God We Trust' on the back of all 25 patrol cars.

A federal jury has ruled against a family that claimed a marshal used excessive force during a 2011 encounter with a 16-year-old boy and his mother on a street in Dover.

The decision Tuesday came moments after another defendant reached a $225,000 settlement in a lawsuit brought by Ron and Eva Robinson and their son Matthew.

The family alleged Dover deputy Steven Payton overreacted when he saw the boy with his mother. He said that, not knowing their relationship, he had a reason to stop and question them but that they became defiant and uncooperative.

 The city of Little Rock has contracted the Public Safety System company to track false alarm calls more effectively.

Residents can expect a fine of $25 to $500 after three false alarm emergency calls to the city’s communications center.

Little Rock's Treasury Manager, Scott Massanelli, says 95 percent of the city’s 30,000 annual emergency calls are false alarms, mostly triggered by monitored security systems.

Dover Marshall

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas is suing a Dover officer for excessive force against a teenage boy and his mother.

Jury members were selected and opening arguments were made in the case Monday. The ACLU alleges excessive force after Dover Deputy Marshall Steven Payton allegedly tased and beat Matthew Robinson and choked his mother Eva. The suit claims he was driving by their house and stopped his car after they waved at him from the street.

A Jefferson County sheriff's deputy has been arrested and fired for allegedly filing a false police report.

The sheriff's office said Tuesday that Deputy Jeremiah Stephens surrendered Monday night after charges were filed.

Sheriff's Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. says Stephens filed a report in April that his apartment had been ransacked and his .40 caliber Glock service weapon was among the items stolen.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new policy is prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft near the Arkansas state Capitol.

The Arkansas Capitol Police on Tuesday announced a new ban on the use unmanned aerial vehicles, including model aircraft or drones on the state Capitol grounds. The ban includes aircraft for hobby or recreational use, commercial use, or for any other purpose.

The exclusion zone is bounded by Interstate 630 on the south side of the Capitol to Markham Street on the north and Victory Street on the east to the railroad tracks on the west.

Arkansas State Crime Lab

The Arkansas State Crime Lab is receiving $97,000 from Manhattan’s District Attorney to test 1,500 rape kits housed by law enforcement agencies statewide.

Kermit Channell, director of the lab, said the funds will allow for a review of evidence in kits from investigations dropped by law enforcement.

“It allows us to capture a snapshot of what's going on in Arkansas to make sure we don't have a problem with kits that are in law enforcement that haven't been submitted to us, or kits that are in hospitals that haven't been picked up by law enforcement,” he said.

Federal prosecutors say an Arkansas police officer has been arrested and charged with drug conspiracy.

Prosecutors announced the charge Thursday against 37-year-old Dumas police officer James Ivory Edgerson. Five associates were also arrested.

Edgerson, a 14-year veteran of the department, is alleged to have made several deliveries of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine to confidential sources.