LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – New questions surround what’s happening with Little Rock’s police force after a city human resources investigator accused Chief Keith Humphrey of targeting and harassing officers.
The investigator claims that Humphrey and two other high-ranking Little Rock Police Department officers were involved in racial discrimination and retaliation, according to an email obtained by FOX 16 Investigates.
Since that email was released, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., city manager Bruce Moore, and Humphrey have declined to comment.
The email was sent by Loretta Cochran, who was hired in December 2020 to investigate allegations of wrongdoing at the police department. Cochran completed her investigation in June 2021 and says she gave her findings to Moore. The city has kept those findings confidential to date.
Last month, the chief fired Officer David Mattox and accused him of untruthfulness.
Cochran’s email focused on Mattox’s firing, which she described as, “a clear indication of racial discrimination, hostile working conditions, and retaliation” by Humphrey, Asst. Chief Crystal Haskins and Lt. Brittney Gunn.
Mattox’s lawyer Robert Newcomb says the email proves what his client has been fighting as he tries to get his badge back.
“He has felt he didn’t do anything wrong,” Newcomb said. “Why hasn’t this been acted on by the mayor? The mayor said he’s going to be the most transparent individual in the office.”
Mattox is currently appealing his termination to the Little Rock Civil Service Commission. Newcomb is using the email to call on the city to release Cochran’s full investigation and question why it has been kept sealed for months.
“It’s relevant evidence and contains relevant evidence about what we’re suing about and that’s discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment,” Newcomb added.
Moore declined to comment, saying it would be “inappropriate” since he is still, “in the process of reviewing the internal files that were submitted by human resources.”
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Lance Hines said he’s not letting this go and wants his colleagues on the city’s Board of Directors who have stayed quiet to speak up.
“I’m going to have a conversation with the city manager and the mayor and ask them what the plans are, and to give us a timeline because this has just gone on too long,” Hines said. “We’re going to have to have some of my fellow directors have a little courage and stand up for what’s right.”
Hines is pushing for Humphrey to be put on administrative leave pending the mayor and city manager’s final decision on what was found in the human resources investigation.