LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Civil Service Commission ruled Thursday that a former Little Rock Police Department officer should not have had his badge and job taken away.
David Mattox was fired earlier this year for being involved in an investigation where his wife was the victim.
Little Rock city officials claimed he lied when he told Internal Affairs he did not fill out an arrest report but did. Mattox’s chain of command testified that they do not believe he intentionally lied and should not have been terminated.
In their ruling, the commission determined that while there was wrongdoing on Mattox’s part, he should have only been officially reprimanded and served a 30-day suspension, not fired.
Earlier this year, an outside city human resources investigator called Mattox’s termination a clear indication of racial discrimination, hostile working conditions and retaliation by Humphrey and two other police supervisors.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. announced there would be no disciplinary action against LRPD Chief Keith Humphrey because the city says the human resources investigator donated to a GoFund Me account to one of the people who filed a complaint against the chief.
Commission chairman Jeff Hildebrand said there were issues with the full truth not being shared by both sides during the hearings and suggested that Humphrey and the police department “get on the same page.”
“I would encourage the Chief and the police department to get on the same page. There was a lot of untruthfulness throughout these last three days, on both sides,” Hildebrand said during comments. “We have to get on the same page because it is tearing the police department and it’s tearing the city apart. We need to fix it and we need to fix it now.”
Not everyone was supporting Mattox, though. Commissioner Obray Nunnley Jr. said he questioned the validity of the testimony of some witnesses supporting the fired officer.
“My concern is, and I stated for the record, that it was obvious that there were several of the witnesses not credible and I think they perjured themself before the commission,” Nunnley explained. “A lot of the witnesses for Officer Mattox were not credible. It was clear there was an agenda to get him off the hook.”
Mattox attorney Robert Newcomb said he did not believe the city proved its case.
“My problem is, I don’t think the city proved that he intentionally was untruthful,” Newcomb told KARK 4 News. “That’s what the rules said, of what they charged him with.”
Khayyam M. Eddings, whose firm represented the LRPD in the matter, said the department stood by the decision to fire Mattox.
“As far as discipline goes, we were here advocating Officer Mattox’s termination and things,” Eddings said. “The commission saw things differently.”
The finding by the commission means that Mattox will be added to the LRPD’s Brady list, which tracks officers who have been deemed untruthful and whose credibility could be questioned in court.
It is still unclear if either Mattox of the city will appeal the finding of the commission to circuit court.