Recall Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards

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First of all thanks for taking the time to visit our cause whether you agree with it or not.

The purpose of this petition is to gather enough signatures to start the process of recalling Centerton's Mayor Bill Edwards. Although individuals may have their own issues with the Mayor, I am focusing on the events surrounding the City Officials in the past year. Mostly the handling of the Centerton Police Department.

Instead of using my opinion for this cause, I will be using news articles to articulate the story.

May 16th, 2018 - (Chief Harper's quick termination)

https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2018/may/16/centerton-police-leaders-fired/

BENTONVILLE — Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards fired the two top leaders of the city’s police department.

Brian Rabal, Centerton’s city attorney, confirmed Wednesday the mayor fired Police Chief Cody Harper and Capt. Kris Arthur. City Council members were notified Tuesday of the firings at a meeting.

Harper was recently placed on administrative leave because of an investigation by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Rabal has said.

Neither officials with the sheriff’s office nor the city have provided any details concerning the reasons for the investigation.

Meyer Gilbert, the chief deputy for the Sheriff’s Office, said the investigation didn’t find any criminal wrongdoing, but may have uncovered ethical issues or violations of policies with the city. Gilbert said the sheriff’s office consulted with the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and determined no criminal charges should be filed.

Dec 12th, 2015 - (Cody Harper promoted to Chief by Mayor Bill Edwards)

https://5newsonline.com/2015/12/09/centerton-mayor-announces-new-chief-of-police/

Cody Harper was announced as the new Centerton Chief of Police on Wednesday (Dec. 9) by Mayor Bill Edwards.

May 17th, 2018 - The mess after Chief Harper was fired - (This article is long, I'm taking snippets)

https://5newsonline.com/2018/05/17/centerton-fraternal-order-of-police-disgusted-by-how-chief-interim-chief-firings-handled/

CENTERTON (KFSM) — The Centerton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 86 responded to Tuesday’s firing of Police Chief Cody Harper and Interim Chief Kris Arthur on Thursday, saying in part, “Our lodge is disgusted with how the terminations were handled.”

The Lodge posted their response on Facebook early Thursday after a meeting to discuss the firing of Harper and Arthur. The two were fired in a special meeting Tuesday night that was not properly disclosed to the media and the public. Mayor Bill Edwards referred all questions to the city attorney, Brian Rabal, who read a statement and refused to answer further questions on Wednesday.

“As a lodge we have decided to show full support for our brothers due to the fact that neither has been charged with a crime, neither has been advised of any policy/ethical violations, and one of them was not made aware of any internal or criminal investigation against them,” the Order’s statement said. “We have asked our city administration to contact the Arkansas State Police in effort to have a fully transparent investigation, and an unbiased decision.”

“When asked why ASP was not contacted originally, there was no real answer,” the statement said.

Today we were advised by our City Attorney he has yet to see any of the evidence from the sheriff’s office, and he simply took the recommendation for termination from the Sheriff’s Office and forwarded it to Mayor Bill Edwards, who subsequently fired Cody Harper and Kris Arthur. Two men with families have been terminated with no explanation to them or our department, and as stated before they have not been charged criminally or formally advised of an internal investigation in writing.

May 25th, 2018 - Chief Harper and Officer Arthur are reinstated and placed on paid leave (still ongoing to this day)

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/may/25/arkansas-police-chief-officer-reinstated-and-place/

April 9th, 2019 - Video released showing City Councilwoman Misty Elam, Mayor Bill Edwards, and Officer Lopez discussing several complaints against current Interim Chief Keck.

https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/video-of-misconduct-allegation-leads-to-heated-exchange-in-centerton/1912887778

Lopez, who has been with the department since 2017, accused Keck of discrimination, harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

Lopez claims to have taken his complaints through the chain of command but was dismissed and retaliated against.

He said he's also taken his complaints to Edwards, who admits in the video he's done nothing and has not taken action against Keck because he doesn't know who would replace him.

At the end of the video, Edwards suggests taking Lopez's complaints to the Municipal League.

Lopez tells him that's a cop-out, and then things get heated.

Lopez: "What else are we supposed to do? You say to me, 'Come to me, come to me, let me help you, let me send it to the municipal league.'"

Mayor Bill Edwards: "You know, they specialize in employment law, I don't.

City Councilwoman Misty Elam: "Yeah, but I think the issue is..."

Mayor Bill Edwards: “So the intent of this meeting is to gang up on me?”

City Councilwoman Misty Elam: “No, Bill, I'm asking on the Municipal League."

Mayor Bill Edwards: "I'm done with this."

April 10th, 2019 - Mayor Bill Edwards laughs off the complaints of harassment, accused of deleting emails, and stating he doesn't want a FOIA

https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/exclusive-centerton-mayor-laughs-off-misconduct-complaints-against-interim-police-chief/1915537912

During our investigation, we uncovered recorded conversations of Mayor Bill Edwards talking about a complaint lasting over a year.

His response:

"I got another one guy I gotta deal with, an officer making a complaint. He gave me dialogue and complaints over a year," says anonymous employee.

The Mayor, laughs.

We went to the Mayor's office to ask him about these alligations and the recorded conversations. This was the response:

Katie Davila: "do you have any comment on any of that?"
Mayor Bill Edwards: "We're letting our city attorney take care of this."

"I told Mayor, "here, this is my fourth complaint I want it dealt with now." He said my complaints were unfounded and that he deletes his emails because he don't want them to be FOIA'd," says anonymous employee.

KNWA knows of ten discrimination and misconduct complaints filed against Centerton Leuitenant Anthony Keck since named interim police chief in May 2018.

Here is the video of the two hour long meeting at the Police Department with Mayor Bill, City Councilwoman Misty Elam, and Officer Lopez

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQaDrzAusrE&t

Thank you for taking your time to read this and making your decision to either recall Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards, or not.

Thanks,

TJ Freeman