State police: Former police chief tried to intervene in 2011 DWI arrest


Former Pine Bluff Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones questioned an Arkansas state trooper’s arrest of a man identified as a boyfriend of the chief, according to the arrest report from 2011.

The report was part of documents in a trial that was scheduled for Wednesday but ended in a plea deal.

Trooper Harlee Robinson said in the report that he transported Stanley Paul, 51, to the adult detention center on Dec. 27, 2011, after Paul had been stopped for suspected driving while intoxicated. While Paul was being booked in, a woman who identified herself as Davis-Jones called on the jail phone and “wanted to know why Mr. Paul was arrested and what I thought I was doing?”

Robinson reported that he told the woman that “Mr. Paul was arrested for DWI and that I would not discuss the case with her.”

While Paul was at the jail in 2011, Sheriff Gerald Robinson said Wednesday he received a call from jail Capt. Ed Adams, who said he had received a call from Davis-Jones seeking to have Paul released on his own recognizance.

State law requires that people who refuse to take a blood-alcohol test be held until they can be brought before a judge. Because Paul had refused to take the test, Robinson said he told Adams to “lock him (Paul) down.”

At the time of the incident, several sources identified Paul as a boyfriend of Davis-Jones, but it is not known if he is the same individual referred to in a 2012 letter from current Assistant Chief of Police Ivan Whitfield, who was suspended and later fired by Davis-Jones in February 2012.

In that letter, Whitfield said the disciplinary action and subsequent firing resulted from his refusal to give Davis-Jones the name of a person who called Whitfield with information about Davis-Jones’ boyfriend. The information was the chief’s boyfriend was drinking at a downtown bar and the caller feared he would try to drive afterward. Whitfield quoted Davis-Jones as saying that she had taken care of the situation and “if you or anybody messes with my two boys or my man you are going down. I mean that.”

Whitfield’s firing was subsequently overturned by the Pine Bluff City Council. Davis-Jones was fired Jan. 1 shortly after current Mayor Debe Hollingsworth took office.

Paul was also one of five people selected by former Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. to serve on the Civil Service Commission when the former commissioners, including Hollingsworth, all resigned in 2012 shortly after the State Supreme Court ruled that a simple majority vote by the city council was all that was needed to abolish the commission.

The new appointees, including Paul, never met because soon thereafter the council adopted a series of ordinances to create new procedures and an appeals board to cover the duties and responsibilities formerly handled by the commission.

Late last year, Paul pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI, refusal to take a blood-alcohol test and reckless driving in Jefferson County District Court without an attorney present. He appealed that conviction to Circuit Court. He had been scheduled for a bench trial Wednesday but he and his attorney Win Trafford worked out a plea with prosecutors that allowed Paul to plead no contest to the DWI charge.

In return, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the one count of refusing to take a blood-alcohol test and dismissed the reckless driving count, amending it to reflect a charge of speeding 2o miles or more over the posted speed limit.

Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis accepted the plea and ordered Paul to pay a fine for the speeding charge. He will be sentenced later on the DWI charge after a pre-sentencing report, which is required by state law, is completed by the probation department. That sentence, a fine, will be about the same as the fine currently imposed in district court, Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn said.

The fine for first-offense DWI in district court is $690, and the fine for speeding 20 miles or more over the limit is $190, and Paul will be allowed 90 to 120 days after he is sentenced to pay that fine.

Paul was also sentenced to one day in jail and received credit for time served.

According to the arrest report, then State Police Lt. (now Capt.) Leonard Hogg was southbound on Interstate 530 when a white Corvette speeded past him. Hogg reported seeing the vehicle changing lanes to get around other vehicles.

Hogg reported that he accelerated, reaching a speed of 120 mph “and was not catching up to the Corvette.”

At the 43 mile marker exit, Hogg said the driver of the Corvette moved from the left lane to the right lane while signaling for a turn, then took the exit, pulling into the right part of the lane to avoid backed up traffic. The driver of the Corvette then stopped at the stop light, then turned left in front of other traffic that was also attempting to turn left.

Hogg said he had turned on his blue lights and siren and when the Corvette stopped at the second light near Walmart, he got out of his police car, identified himself verbally and showed his badge.

“The driver had the lost look as I started talking and he could not find me,” Hogg said in the report. “I told the driver to pull to the right shoulder, he started toward the shoulder as he could get over and continued into the parking lot of Walmart before stopping.”

Hogg said Paul was cooperative with him, saying that he “had not had anything to drink in about 45 minutes.

“I felt he was under the influence because of his slurred speech and the way he was driving and him trying to find me with his eyes as I approached and started talking to him,” Hogg said in the report.

The report also indicated that Hogg watched Trooper Robinson administer a series of field sobriety tests to Paul before placing him under arrest.

Hogg also reported that he allowed Paul to call another person, later identified as Carl Scott, to come and pick up Paul’s car rather than having it towed.

When Scott arrived, he was accompanied by a female who Hogg said in the report was “the city of Pine Bluff attorney” and who was driving the car.

“I approached the passenger side where Carl was sitting,” Hogg said in the report. “I thought I smelled alcohol on his breath and asked him if he had been drinking and he stated no. The female got in the car and I asked if she could check the glove box for a weapon that Stanley had a carry license for. The glove box was locked and there was no key in the car.”

Hogg said in the report the female told him they would call someone to come and drive the car for them.

In his report, Trooper Robinson said when they reached the jail, Paul received several phone calls from unknown parties and “Mr. Paul became very agitated and refused to answer any questions.”

Robinson also said that when he asked Paul several background questions for the arrest report and jail log, “Mr. Paul stated to me and I quote ‘if you’re so damn smart, you can answer your own questions,’ and refused to give me any further information.”