A Region 8 Mayor Is Asking an Alderman to Consider Giving Up His Seat - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Newport, AR -- Melissa Simas reports

A Region 8 Mayor Is Asking an Alderman to Consider Giving Up His Seat

January 19, 2005 -- Posted 4:45 p.m. CDT

Newport, AR -- Newport Alderman Pinkey McFarlin and his wife pleaded innocent on Tuesday before a federal magistrate to numerous drug charges. Now, the Mayor of Newport is asking McFarlin to consider stepping down.

At a council meeting on Monday, Mayor David Stewart read from a prepared statement obtained by K8 News, which said: "I know from my experience in the law enforcement area that anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. I would call on the alderman facing these legal challenges to seriously examine the circumstances that face him and make an honest and sincere evaluation of whether his continued service on the Newport city council is in the best interest of the city of Newport and the voters that elected him."

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Stewart was not available for additional comment and neither was Pinkey McFarlin. However, at that same council meeting, McFarlin responded by saying, " I was elected by the people and I intend to continue to serve their needs."

The NAACP leader's constituency is speaking out.

"If he hasn't been convicted, why shouldn't he stay in office? You can't go by rumors, you got to actually have a conviction," said Newport resident Courtney Ward.

"I feel like if he wasn't caught with no drugs, he shouldn't resign from office," added Newport resident Jarrell Hampton.

An elected official facing charges can remain in office, unless convicted. So for now, some in Newport are sticking by Pinkey McFarlin, waiting for the court to decide his future. The McFarlins face a jury trial on February 28. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison for the most serious charges.

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