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Radley Balko: The Police State Comes To Arkansas

Stashed in: Crime!, Po Po!

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"[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck," Stovall said. "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID."

Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be.

"We're going to do it to everybody," he said. "Criminals don't like being talked to."

Gaskill backed Stovall's proposed actions during Thursday's town hall.

"They may not be doing anything but walking their dog," he said. "But they're going to have to prove it." . . .

"This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this," he said. "It allows us to do what we're fixing to do." . . .

"To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason," he said. "Well, I've got statistical reasons that say I've got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you're doing out. Then when I add that people are scared...then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area." . . .

"Anyone that's out walking, because of the crime and the fear factor, [could be stopped]," he said . . .

Individuals who do not produce identification when asked could be charged with obstructing a governmental operation, according to Stovall.

Here's the least surprising line in the article:

Stovall said he did not consult an attorney before announcing his plans to combat crime.

Ah, so there IS such thing as going too far.

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