Maybe it’s a bit cliche for a newspaper to take up for one of its own, but after seeing the latest information coming from the northeast part of the state, we feel we have to find a place in which to place our two cents.
Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates has been suspended from his position for one month without pay for his cyber bullying of Jonesboro Sun crime reporter Sunshine Crump (yes, that’s her name) causing her to resign her position.
Tension between Crump and Yates had apparently been going on for months because of the specific reporting she had done on police officers and the police department. There had also been efforts by Yates to hinder the newspaper from accessing important reports for days at a time.
But the final straw came when Yates began disparaging Crump in a series of posts to Facebook. Examples include:
“Wonder if ole Sunshine (reporter) could pass a drug test. Why yes, she has been arrested before.”
“Pro-dope smoking, law license revoked, left wing liberal, smelly, arrested by police, unscrupulous reporter.”
“Dealing with ole Sunshine is like trying to pick up a dog turd by the ‘clean end.’”
These may seem benign to some of you, but the fact that he brought up an arrest — Crump was arrested for participating in an anti-war protest years ago, and the charges were dropped — and tried to tie it to drug use of which there is no evidence shows a person who is letting the paper get under his skin.
Why did she resign? Why didn’t she stand in there toe to toe? If a police chief cares enough and has enough energy to find out old information about you, wouldn’t there be a chance he knows what you drive? Where you live? Would you feel safe around a person like that? Would you want to take your chances?
This is not what you want from a city leader. Fortunately, the Log Cabin Democrat has a very good relationship with Conway Police Chief A.J. Gary and the police department. That hasn’t always been the case, but it is now, and we cherish it. If Faulkner County Sheriff Andy Shock or anyone else from county or city government has an issue with us, they come to our office or call us up and speak with us directly, and that’s something to be respected.
It looks like Yates will have a month to think about if he would like to be respected like that.
(The Editorial Board consists of Publisher Zach Ahrens, Editor Ricky Duke and Reporter Joe Lamb)