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The Little Rock Police Chief was suspended after he accidentally shot and seriously wounded a woman while pointing at another woman filmed firing a gun on New Year’s Eve.
Police Chief Keith Humphrey was put on leave in accordance with Little Rock Police Department guidelines for shootings involving officers on Saturday, the day after he shot and seriously wounded 22-year-old Kelecia Mayo while attempting to Shoot down suspected shooter Taz Hayes. , 29.
A dramatic video showed a woman arguing with a man before smashing a car window with a phone. A second woman, said to be Hayes, then runs to the shot and opens fire, but hits no one.
Humphrey, who was on patrol as part of a “practical” initiative, is said to have struck Mayo moments later.
On New Years Eve, Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey
“On New Years Eve, Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey initiated a patrol approach with all hands on deck just as he did in the past and required command personnel to patrol the city.” Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. tweeted on Saturday night.
“While he was on patrol, Chief Humphrey saw a disturbance which, unfortunately, led to a shooting,” confirmed Scott.
Chief Humphrey also fired his gun at the alleged shooter and, as is common practice in a shooting involving officers, he has been placed on administrative leave.
“This is an unprecedented situation because it involves our police chief,” he added, noting that the Arkansas State Police is now investigating the incident.
Hayes is now incarcerated for a battery charge. Jail records do not list an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
Mayo was hospitalized in critical condition, state police said Saturday.
Scott said Humphrey was on patrol following his announcement the previous Friday that all command personnel would join in patrolling the city on New Year’s Eve.
Scott said Deputy Director Crystal Haskins is now the acting chief of police.
The city asked state police to investigate the initial fight and Humphrey’s response in an effort to remain “accountable, clear and transparent,” Scott said.
It is common practice to license officers involved in shootings pending the results of an investigation, and state police officers often assist local police departments in investigations.
State police investigators will present their findings to Pulaski County Attorney Larry Jegley, who will determine whether Humphrey’s use of force was justified under Arkansas law.
Humphrey and other members of the command staff have patrolled on New Year’s Eve in recent years, and Humphrey said at a news conference Thursday that he would be in uniform on Friday night.
State police investigators recovered a bullet from a vehicle in the parking lot, which will be examined at the state Crime Laboratory to see if it was fired by Humphrey’s gun, state police said.
The Crime Lab had no results until Saturday, state police spokesman Bill Sadler told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Hayes was being held at the Pulaski County Jail and facing a first degree battery charge. She will appear in court Monday, Police Department spokesman Mark Edwards said.
Mayo was transferred to a Little Rock hospital and was in critical condition Saturday morning, but she had improved to a stable condition by Saturday night, Edwards said.
The Little Rock police and Scott said all questions about the investigation should be referred to the state police, while the state police said questions about the identity of the officer involved in the shooting and his administrative status should be referred to the Police Department. . from Little Rock.
Several members of the city’s board of directors could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Dean Kumpuris, one of the three CEOs, declined to comment on the investigation. He said state police should handle it “as they would any officer-involved shooting.”
Sadler said the agency’s investigation procedure is the same for everyone.
“The rank of the officer involved, whether it’s chief of police, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, doesn’t really matter because the [state] statute refers to the use of deadly force by an officer,” he said. “It is not delimited between the bases of the department, so [the case] will not be treated differently.
Humphrey’s relationship with his fellow Police Department officers
Humphrey’s relationship with his fellow Police Department officers has been strained in recent years. Several of his colleagues filed a series of legal complaints against him, alleging retaliation related to the aftermath of a 2019 police shooting.
Humphrey contradicted them in 2020, claiming that the leaders of the largest local police union, the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 17, along with many others had conspired to expel him from his job.
Federal District Judge James M. Moody Jr. in September 2021 granted motions to dismiss the lawsuit. In November, a decision is pending in federal court on whether Humphrey and his attorney Michael Laux will face penalties and will be ordered to pay approximately $ 48,000 in law enforcement union fees.