JPD Addresses Allegations of Racial Profiling

January 17, 2006 – Posted at 5:29 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Although Jason King has yet to file a complaint against the Jonesboro Police didn't stop the JPD from addressing the issue of racial profiling.

Police Chief Mike says it's not an issue of race, but rather a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It wasn't based on race, it wasn't constitutionally prohibited. Uncomfortable, unpleasant, yeah, it probably was," said Chief Yates.

An African American victim reported that three African American males had broken into their home on Stone Street Monday afternoon and had destroyed and stole property. The three men then fled on foot after police arrived at the scene. Two of the men were arrested and police were searching for the third man when they came into contact with King....he was only blocks away from where the crime occurred and fit the description of the suspect.

"And at this particular point in time there is no way the officer knew. It was reasonable, good police work to get in this area and saturate it and find the people responsible for this action. Some verbal exchange between Mr. King and this officer and I was told some profanity on the part of Mr. King, but to be honest with you, I don't know that I wouldn't have said the same thing," said Chief Yates.

JPD officers took king back to the scene of the crime where the witness did not identify him as a suspect. He was then released.

"I think that it would have been irresponsible on our part to have done it any other way. The African American citizens of our community deserve exactly the same level of commitment and enforcement that everybody else in this community does," said Chief Yates, "I certainly don't know what it is to be an African American. I do know what it feels like to be stopped, and have no idea what I had done wrong. and it's uncomfortable, and it's unpleasant but it's not necessarily wrong. And if we had an intrinsic problem with that particular type of issue in the Jonesboro Police Department, then I want to know about it. I can't take any action or correct those things that I don't know exist."