Ark. city neighborhood under 24-hour curfew

Is there anyone here living near this area or that knows someone whom does that can confirm this or give any insight as to what, exactly, in the hell is going on?

Ark. city neighborhood under 24-hour curfew

Associated Press - August 10, 2008 8:34 PM ET

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley says he ordered a round-the-clock curfew and heavy police patrol in a ten-block section of town because the neighborhood was "under siege with repeated gunfire, loitering, drug dealing and other general mayhem."

Valley ordered the emergency curfew Thursday, effective immediately. It was still in place today. He said it would remain in place as long as the problems persist or until the city council can come up with a long-term plan at its August 19th meeting.

Thursday night, 18 to 20 police officers carrying M-16 rifles, shotguns and night-vision scopes patrolled the "curfew zone." They arrested about eight people and confiscated drugs and loaded weapons.

Under Valley's order, officers do not tolerate loitering or "hanging out." Officers can stop and investigate all foot traffic, bicycle, horseback, mo-ped, motorcycle, riding mower, golf cart or other means of transportation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas says the curfew is "blatantly unconstitutional" and has demanded that Valley lift the order immediately.

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Comment by Hessenroots on August 13, 2008 at 1:39am
Non Sicuro Pensatore, thanks much for the commentary.

It will be very interesting to see how this develops.
Comment by Hessenroots on August 13, 2008 at 1:34am
Thanks for the info, Open Threat.

I did a full Google on this guy and he does seem like a real special person. Things he's said and done...amazing he's still in office.

I'm really curious how bad it is in this neighborhood. I can't imagine a 10 block area being so terribly overrun that this kind of action would even seem like an option, much less a good idea.
Comment by Open Threat on August 13, 2008 at 12:36am
I don't live anywhere near Helena-West Helena, but I did a Google search and the curfew is definitely real. It is also unconstitutional, and the ACLU has written a letter to the mayor demanding it be stopped.

The major, James Valley, appears to be a piece of work. A couple of months ago, he released 10 homeless dogs into the state park, over the objections of animal rights activists. He said, basically, that he believes "God created them", so they'll be alright on their own. An arrest warrant was issued for him violating animal cruelty laws.

The Arkansas Bar Association suspended his law license for 30 days, and his brother is the city's Attorney General - which doesn't reek of corruption at all.

He seems to be one of those petty tyrants who have been emboldened over the last few years to violate citizens' rights in pursuit of fighting terrorism crime. He is ignoring both municipal law and the Constitution, and feels immune from any repercussions.
Comment by Hessenroots on August 12, 2008 at 11:52pm
Previous story, related:

Helena-West Helena to continue 24-hour curfew

Associated Press - August 12, 2008 5:04 PM ET

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - The city council in Helena-West Helena has cleared the way for police to expand patrols as part of a 24-hour curfew intended to cut down on crime. Police had been watching a 10-block area, but the city council voted today to let police move operations into other parts of the city.

Officers with military rifles and night-vision glasses are authorized to stop anyone in the designated area. Civil rights lawyers say the stops are violating the constitutional rights of passersby, but councilmembers say those living in the city want random shootings and drug-fueled violence to stop, no matter what the cost.

The curfew is the second under the mayor's watch since the neighboring cities of Helena and West Helena merged two years ago. In 2006, Valley set a nightly citywide curfew after a rash of burglaries and other thefts.



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