Before you read this story, I suggest you pour yourself a tall glass of your favorite beverage (I recommend Crown Royal Apple*) because you’ll probably do a few spit takes at the unbelievable shenanigans going on in Little Rock, Ark.
*Please, do not drink the Crown Royal Apple, unless you like mop water sweetened with fructose corn syrup. But it is perfect for spitting out and asking yourself, “What the hell is this? And what was wrong with the 300-year-old recipe for regular whiskey?” I have no idea who tasted a shot of Johnny Walker Black and thought: “You know what would make this better? Some apple-flavored Juicy Juice.”
This story begins with Willie Davis, a sergeant in the Little Rock Police Department. A veteran police officer, Davis serves as the vice president of the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association, which addresses the needs and concerns of black officers. Davis was also known in the city for his activism and work with black youths and at-risk teens. Several residents of the city contacted The Root, upset about the treatment of one of the few allies of the black community.
I was skeptical of this overwhelming love for a black police officer myself, until I checked out the O.K. (mentoring) Program of Little Rock and realized that Davis really is ’bout that uplift life.
In November, Davis found a Facebook post by police recruit Brandon Schiefelbein of a picture of a black man sleeping, captioned with, “Go night night nigga. Go night night.” (Don’t spit out your Crown Royal Kool-Aid just yet). Schiefelbein, who is white, was dismissed after the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association sent a letter to Police Chief Kenton Buckner (pdf) about the discovery.
The letter notes that in 2012, the department was alerted that a recruit was a member of the Ku Klux Klan but was still hired (don’t spit). That recruit later became an officer and killed a black 15-year-old named Bobby Moore. The letter from the black police officers reminded Buckner that the racist officer was found guilty of manslaughter and that the LRPD was found to be liable.
Buckner (who is black but is not a member of the LRBPOA because—according to one former officer—Buckner “doesn’t fuck with them like that”), decided to dismiss Schiefelbein and a black recruit named Brandon Gurley, because Gurley had also used the word on social media posts before, and ... you know ... fair is fair (don’t spit yet). The Arkansas Times reports that Chief Buckner later suspended another black female recruit when he found out that she used the n-word when she was 16 years old! (You can spit now!).
Now, Buckner has suspended Willie Davis for 10 days for reporting the racial slur, Arkansas Online reports. Apparently, Buckner feels that Davis should have reported the slur to a department supervisor before sharing it with the LRBPOA. Davis was suspended despite the fact, according to the report, that Buckner has a reputation for “being very reluctant” to discipline white supervisors and officers, while having “no hesitation when it comes to disciplining black officers and supervisors.”
The Root called the Little Rock Police Department and was told that it would not comment on internal personnel matters.
If you’re wondering why this article seems to paint the Little Rock police chief in a negative light, it is probably because several residents reached out to The Root complaining of Buckner’s contentious relationship with the black community. Or maybe it’s because Davis told local station KATV in July that Buckner tried to get rid of the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association by forcing it to merge with a group of white officers because there was “no need” for the black group. You might want to take your next sip before you read this letter from the black officers to the city manager alleging that Buckner is guilty of “discrimination, inequities and disparaging treatment of minority officers and supervisors.”
Davis plans to appeal his suspension, the first in his 26 years with the Police Department, and will continue working with the O.K. mentorship program.
Chief Buckner, meanwhile, is just like Crown Royal Apple: Both are just shitty, watered-down drops of Satan’s semen that will only leave a bad taste in your mouth.