LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas’ surgeon general won’t face any charges over a confrontation he had with police at his Little Rock home under a deal approved by a judge, a prosecutor said Friday.
Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley said his office agreed to drop an attempting to influence a public service charge against Joe Thompson. Jegley said prosecutors "passed" the disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges to be dismissed in six months if Thompson doesn’t have any other problems with law enforcement.
Jegley said Judge Alice Lightle approved the agreement in a brief hearing Thursday. Jegley called the agreement a "good resolution to the situation on all sides."
"It’s sort of taken on a life of its own and I wanted to make sure and respect the fact that no citizen has the right to refuse to comply with a police officers’ requests when you’re out on the street or even in your front yard," Jegley said.
Police were called to Thompson’s home March 31 by a private security guard who got into a confrontation with Thompson while patrolling the neighborhood. Police say Thompson was combative and did not cooperate with officers who were investigating the report. The report said Thompson told officers they were "making a mistake" because he works "for the governor."
Thompson had pleaded not guilty, and his trial had been scheduled to begin May 30. In a statement released Friday morning, he said the audio and video recordings released from the arrest don’t back up the claim that he tried to influence a police officer with his position.
"More than anything, I am thankful to my friends, family and others I have met for their concern and support — and to my colleagues who have not only supported me but who have had to take up some of the slack resulting from distractions of the last few weeks," Thompson said.
Gov. Mike Beebe said last month that Thompson’s job was safe and that the surgeon general had apologized to him.
Thompson was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2005 as the state’s chief health officer and reappointed by Beebe.