Today's Paper Arkansas News LEARNS Guide Legislature Sports Core Values Puzzles Newsletters Public Notices Archive Obits Opinion Story Ideas

Landers acknowledges tiff at polling site

by Daniel McFadin | October 30, 2022 at 3:05 a.m.
Little Rock mayoral candidates Steve Landers (inset left) and Greg Henderson (inset right) are shown with the Dee Brown Library in Little Rock in this undated combination photo. Landers has released a statement acknowledging, but also disputing, an incident Friday, Oct. 28, 2022 outside the library in which Henderson said he witnessed a Landers supporter reveal a gun to supporters of Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photos)

Little Rock mayoral candidate Steve Landers released a statement Friday acknowledging, but also disputing, an incident outside an early voting location in which one of his supporters is alleged to have revealed to supporters of Mayor Frank Scott that he was carrying a gun.

The incident in question occurred at the Dee Brown Library and was witnessed by Greg Henderson, one of Landers' opponents in the upcoming election.

"I've been made aware of an altercation today at an early voting location here in Little Rock," Landers' statement read. "It is my understanding that a number of supporters of Mayor Frank Scott were antagonistic toward our poll workers, who are members of Latinos for Landers.

"We do not condone any intimidation or threatened violence at polling locations, or any place else in our city. Further, guns, or the appearance of guns, have no place at polling locations.

"I would like to personally thank those who helped de-escalate the situation. We will continue to get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident, and encourage Little Rock voters to continue to participate in early voting."

According to Henderson, the incident occurred between 11 and 11:30 a.m Friday. He was standing outside the library with three Scott supporters when the group was approached by two members of Latinos for Landers.

Henderson said the Landers supporters began talking to the Scott supporters in an attempt to "get under their skin."

After a back-and-forth between the two groups, Henderson recalled that one of the Landers supporters said they were going to call for more of their own to come to the location. Henderson said two more Landers supporters eventually arrived.

"They kept kind of talking back and forth with some of the Frank guys," Henderson said. "A couple of the Frank supporters got agitated and yelled some stuff back at them. And then one of Steve's supporters kind of pressed his shirt down kind of along his waistband. And you can see an outline of a gun there. And then one of us said, 'You're not supposed to have weapons out here.' And then he flashed his concealed carry permit. So did another one of the supporters for Steve."

Henderson said he and one of the Scott supporters then took the remaining two to the back of the parking lot in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. A lunch break was suggested, he said.

"Just to kind of get out and calm down," Henderson said. "Let them know that these guys are really just trying to get them to create some kind of situation out of it."

Henderson did not call the police or inform any poll workers about the incident.

"Granted, there's a substation right there," Henderson said. "The situation, we'd been able to calm it down. I was afraid of the police rolling in. Asking questions would just re-escalate the situation when everybody had finally calmed down and it got to where they weren't going back and forth, weren't talking to each other, just letting everything get kind of calmed down. ... I sat there for another 15, 20 minutes just to make sure it stayed calmed down before I even left them."

When he was read Landers' statement, Henderson reiterated that the Landers supporters "certainly had guns."

"There was no doubt that some of the Frank supporters were going back and forth. But I mean, it was absolutely initiated by the Steve supporter. Some of the Frank supporters did get a little hot and did get a little heated with them and probably said some things they shouldn't have."

Henderson had not reached out to the Landers campaign.

"I really didn't expect it to blow up like it did," Henderson said. "I thought we had it under control."

A community relations manager with the Little Rock Police Department reached out to him via text after the incident, Henderson said.

"They encouraged me to call 911 or LRPD next time," he said.

A police spokesperson said no reports had been filed about any incidents at polling places.

Print Headline: Landers acknowledges tiff at polling site


Sponsor Content