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December 13, 2017

John Walker and another lawyer arrested, reportedly for filming police arrest



State Rep. John Walker, 79, the civil rights lawyer, and a fellow lawyer, Omavi Kushukuru, 29, were arrested by Little Rock police this morning for obstructing governmental operations.

No details yet. Our unconfirmed report was that the arrest followed Walker photographing a police arrest about 11:30 a.m. I’m guessing the photographing might have included  commentary by Walker.

The arrest was at 9th and Commerce Streets, KATV reported. Its report said Walker “interfered with a traffic stop.”

They were booked at the Pulaski County jail on the misdemeanor charge and were making arrangements for release on $1,000 bonds.

Walker championed legislation passed in 2015 that gave citizens a clear right to photograph events that take place in public.  We noted at the time:

The issue is personal for Walker, who co-sponsored the bill. In 1998, Walker was driving with his daughter and two grandchildren and stopped to observe a traffic stop of young black men by white Pine Bluff police officers. Walker parked and walked across the street to observe the encounter. An officer walked over and asked him what he was doing and Walker stated that he was watching “Pine Bluff’s finest in action.” Walker was arrested for “obstructing governmental operations” and then, according to Walker’s testimony, the officer “drove Walker at varying speeds over dark wooded roads to the police station.” Walker was never charged and successfully sued the city of Pine Bluff. 

The 2015 law waives the state’s sovereign immunity when the law is violated. Details of this case will be interesting, not to mention important to the court arguments that lie ahead.

Walker and Kushukuru are not back at the office yet. A co-worker said she understood it was another case of Walker recording police interaction with someone else.


State Rep. John Walker, 79, the civil rights lawyer, and a fellow lawyer, Omavi Kushukuru, 29, were arrested by Little Rock police this morning for obstructing governmental operations.

No details yet. Our unconfirmed report was that the arrest followed Walker photographing a police arrest about 11:30 a.m. I’m guessing the photographing might have included  commentary by Walker.

The arrest was at 9th and Commerce Streets, KATV reported. Its report said Walker “interfered with a traffic stop.”

They were booked at the Pulaski County jail on the misdemeanor charge and were making arrangements for release on $1,000 bonds.

Walker championed legislation passed in 2015 that gave citizens a clear right to photograph events that take place in public.  We noted at the time:

The issue is personal for Walker, who co-sponsored the bill. In 1998, Walker was driving with his daughter and two grandchildren and stopped to observe a traffic stop of young black men by white Pine Bluff police officers. Walker parked and walked across the street to observe the encounter. An officer walked over and asked him what he was doing and Walker stated that he was watching “Pine Bluff’s finest in action.” Walker was arrested for “obstructing governmental operations” and then, according to Walker’s testimony, the officer “drove Walker at varying speeds over dark wooded roads to the police station.” Walker was never charged and successfully sued the city of Pine Bluff. 

The 2015 law waives the state’s sovereign immunity when the law is violated. Details of this case will be interesting, not to mention important to the court arguments that lie ahead.

Walker and Kushukuru are not back at the office yet. A co-worker said she understood it was another case of Walker recording police interaction with someone else.

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