"You asked the chief for it in writing," Redus replied.
"I asked you for it in executive session," Brumett replied.
April 2, 2012 City Council Meeting
It's the Pine Bluff City Council Meeting back and forth part two. Alderman Bill Brumett requested information from Mayor Carl Redus, a second time, about an investigation into allegations Assistant Police Chief Ivan Whitfield made against Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones.
"All I want is to find out what happened and if it -- if somebody did something wrong they need to be held accountable," Brumett said. "The allegations are pretty strong. I feel like it's something that should really be looked into by an outside agency like the Arkansas State Police."
In the City Council meeting on March 19, 2012, the mayor told Brumett internal affairs had cleared Jones of accusations she had fired Whitfield as a form of retaliation for his knowledge of her boyfriend's run-in with Pine Bluff Police.
"Research that was done by Internal Affairs found those accusations to be untrue," Redus had said during the meeting.
Brumett filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which the police department's Deputy Chief responded to saying Professional Standards (Internal Affairs) had not conducted any such investigation.
"I'd hate to say that he's misleading us on purpose, I'm hoping that he'd been given information that was not exactly correct," Brumett said of the conflicting information.
At the City Council meeting tonight, Redus denied having attributed that information to Internal Affairs. He finally relinquished to Brumett, saying he misspoke.
Shedding Light on Conflicting Stories
On March 23, 2012, Redus told KARK Arkansas State Police were handling the allegations, saying it was an ongoing investigation.
"So it hasn't taken place yet? we asked Redus.
"No, it has not," he replied.
"Then how could those accusations have been found to be unfounded?" we asked.
"At that point and time that was not part of the investigation, and the information had to do with something else. With the internal investigation is going on, I don't want to comment on that particular investigation at this point and time," he said. "I think once that's complete it will be released," he told us.
State Police confirmed they were only conducting a criminal investigation in Pine Bluff. Assistant Police Chief Ivan Whitfield, who is making the allegations of wrongful termination, had one of his service weapons stolen; it was later found at a crime scene. ASP is currently investigating how it went missing and how it was recovered.
In an interview following tonight's City Council meeting, Redus denied having said the ASP investigation was an internal one.
"I said that it was a criminal investigation. You said it was internal, then I get a call from Arkansas State Police," Redus said. "I said it was a criminal investigation."
"No sir, we asked you about an internal investigation. You said you couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation that was being conducted at the state police level," we countered. "That's what you said, sir."
"Well then, I misspoke. It was not an internal investigation. They don't do internal investigations, they only do criminal investigations," Redus said.
So, as it turns out, Redus misspoke twice about an investigation he apparently conducted himself.
"Who actually conducted the investigation into those allegations?" we asked Redus.
"If you were here during the meeting then you heard who did the investigation," Redus said.
"It still remains unclear who was responsible for that investigation. So who investigated, I guess?" we continued.
"It was investigated by me in asking the questions of the individuals who were in then meeting," he said. "So that's all I have to say about that."
In the end, Redus' response to Brumett's inquiry was to tell him to put it in writing, saying after speaking to legal counsel he needed a written request from Brumett, despite the alderman asking for the information twice on the public record.
"You should provide a written explanation to me, requesting the information dealing with the investigation," he said.
"Do I need to make an FOI request?" Brumett asked.
"I don't know how you, you just get it to me and we'll provide that," Redus said. "But actually, it's probably best that you file an FOI with the city attorney's office."
"If I receive that information it's public information, right?" Brumett asked.
"You make it public most of the time," Redus laughed. "You can do that."
"As I told him in an email I sent him -- he will be asked at every meeting. And at every public safety meeting, I will ask the Police Chief until I get answers I feel are credible," Brumett said of the lack of answers for the second meeting in a row.
Police Chief's Response
We asked Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones about the investigation. She said that those allegations were part of a whole investigation.
"We don't sit here and discriminate pull this part out and that part out," she said.
"Number two, there has been no formal complaint filed by him," she said.
When KARK pointed out that Whitfield had submitted a letter to the city attorney, which was forwarded on to the mayor and council, outlining the allegations and requesting an investigation by Arkansas State Police, she didn't feel that was a formal complaint.
"That was a letter from his attorney. That's why I said you need to talk to my boss," she said, referring to Redus.
"When I asked her about the official report on the allegations during the Public Safety Committee meeting, she didn't seem to know what I was talking about," Brumett said of Jones' response to his inquiry of her prior to the City Council meeting. "These allegations are serious. It's about integrity on having accusations like that against someone in a position like that."
The letter submitted in February was submitted by Whitfield's attorney to the City Attorney, however it was outlined in the cover letter Whitfield had written the letter and it was later provided to both the mayor and city council. In the letter, Whitfield claims he had requested a meeting with himself, the police chief, and the mayor. However, he claims he was never given that meeting.
In the letter, he also did request an Arkansas State Police investigation into the matter.