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Little Rock blogger Russ Racop freed after night in jail awaiting misdemeanor appeal

After spending the night in the Pulaski County Jail, blogger Russ Racop was released Thursday on his own recognizance by order of Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Racop was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday by Sherwood District Judge Milas Hale, who found Racop guilty of three counts of harassment involving city employees and a school employee on occasion distinct last year. Hale ordered Racop to report to jail Wednesday afternoon.

Racop, a former Little Rock board candidate, frequently criticizes Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and law enforcement in Little Rock and throughout the state, blogging and tweeting as Bad Government in Arkansas , Bad City of Little Rock and Snarky Media. .

Racop’s lawyers tried to keep the 63-year-old out of jail by appealing the verdicts to Circuit Court, removing Racop from the jurisdiction of the district court. The attorneys — Little Rock law professor Robert Steinbuch, a recognized authority on Arkansas open government laws, and Chris Corbitt of Conway — spent Thursday trying to get him out.

They were embarrassed, in part, because the first two judges assigned to the case, Karen Whatley and Cathi Compton, recused themselves on Wednesday before the proceedings landed in Griffen Court, just before the deadline for the handing over of Go to jail.

Lawyers said Racop’s detention became illegal under Arkansas criminal procedure rules when he filed his appeal on Wednesday due to the nature of misdemeanor appeals, which overturns the district court’s verdict for give the accused the opportunity for a new trial in circuit court. .

Racop was scheduled to make his first appearance in circuit court on June 23 to schedule proceedings.

Court records show that the harassment complaints came from three people:

City of Little Rock Recreational Facilities Supervisor Larry Gilmore reported that Racop accosted him in January 2021 at the West Central Sports Complex on John Barrow Road yelling sexual and homophobic slurs. In March 2021, at the West Central Community Center on Colonel Glenn Road, Gilmore reported that the blogger called him “Black fat-a**b******” and made an obscene gesture during a exhibition in the presence of another city employee. .

City Hall security guard Willie Boyd complained about Racop during an Oct. 29 meeting. Boyd reported that Racop made an obscene gesture, described Boyd as a “fat a**”, and made what Boyd called a racial remark about Boyd having to “go back to the plantation” in front of Boyd’s co-workers.

Jessica Duff, executive director of communications for the Pulaski County Special School District, reported that Racop, after telling her that he had accidentally received his Social Security number from the school district via an open registration request, l repeatedly posted “incorrectly redacted” between Nov. 15 and Dec. 7 as part of a post on his Bad Government blog. She was able to ask her host to remove the post after complaining, but Racop continued to repost, even though prosecutors warned him to stop.