LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In April of 2021, lawmakers passed the “Duty to Intervene” law in Arkansas.
It requires all officers to undergo specific training and to intervene when excessive violence by another officer is witnessed.
Of the three law enforcement officers seen in that cell phone video, two have completed this training not once but twice since the law was passed.
But Levi White, the deputy seen in the video beating the man, has yet to do it.
“If we really have a concern, the place to start is with education and that’s what the heart of this bill was,” said State Representative Justin Boyd, who sponsored the legislation.
Boyd points back at the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers as the first incident making him want to lead the legislation.
“This rises to the level of making sure that our law enforcement officers in Arkansas are aware that there is a duty to intervene,” he said.
The most recent viral cell phone video in Crawford County reminded Boyd how important this legislation is.
“Like many people, I’ve seen the video and the video was at the least, concerning,” Boyd said.
While White had not undergone the training for the year and the two other law enforcement officers in the video had done it twice, Boyd said he hopes the incident serves as a learning opportunity.
“What I would hope is that we would learn from this,” he said. “We make sure that officers know the expectation and that if laws are violated that there’s accountability.”
KARK reached out to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office to find out how many officers had done the training and what its plan is but did not hear back.
Meanwhile, KARK did hear back from Little Rock, Bryant and Benton Police Departments.
Little Rock and Bryant spokespersons said their officers have done the training for the year.
In Benton, all but five of the officers have done the training, and those who have not will complete it by the end of the year.