March 24, 2023

USA: I Just Found Out About Eudora, Arkansas Was Under Mandatory Civil Emergency Curfew Because Murders, Break-ins, Shootings Were Out Of Control. 8pm to 6am Daily From 12/27/22 to 1/3/23

I tried looking for any current updates on the situation in Eudora, Arkansas but couldn't find anything.  Very strange that there is no current news about Eudora, AR. Everything is 2 months old in the Google and YouTube search results. When I used Duckduckgo search engine to look for any recent news for Eudora, AR, I only found a news story from March 21, 2023 about a neighbor who rescued 2 people from a mobile home fire. But that's it. Incredible there is nothing else after the city declaring a civil emergency a mere 2 months ago. I get a feeling there is more than meets the eye. Hmm...fishy. (emphasis mine)
KTVE published January 3, 2023: City of Eudora lifts weeklong mandatory emergency curfew. City of Eudora lifts weeklong mandatory emergency curfew.

KAIT8 News, Arkansas local
written by Staff
January 4, 2023

EUDORA, Arkansas - The city of Eudora put a curfew into effect on Dec. 27 due to a large number of shootings over the past few weeks.

The curfew ended at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3 after it was put in place for the safety of the citizens of Eudora.

According to our content-sharing partner, several shootings were reported on Christmas Eve alone and according to the city, the curfew helped stabilize the violence in the community. The city also said no arrests related to murder were made throughout the week.
KARK 4 News published December 29, 2022: Emergency town hall called over recent outbreak of violence in Eudora, curfew extended. Murders, break-ins, and shootings are the causes of a mandatory curfew issued earlier this week in the Chicot County town of Eudora.
THV11 published December 28, 2022: Arkansas mayor declares civil emergency after surge in violent crime. Tomeka Butler, mayor of Eudora, declared a civil emergency alongside a mandatory curfew after multiple shootings in the small town.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
written by Staff
Information for this article was contributed by Rick Rojas of The New York Times and by Daniel McFadin of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Tuesday January 3, 2023

EUDORA. — Eudora’s 8 p.m. curfew has prompted complaints from residents concerned about losing their ability to move freely. But many residents — including those who believe the curfew is urgently necessary — see it as a desperate, stopgap measure that will not undo any of the decline and disinvestment at the root of the community’s struggles.

“Please help us bring these senseless acts of crime to a stop,” Mayor Tomeka Butler pleaded in a brief video posted online Tuesday to announce the emergency declaration. “Should you be caught during curfew hours, you will be subject to being stopped and searched.” The proprietors of a liquor store and a chicken wing spot — among the few businesses typically open past 8 p.m. — are worried about losing money.

“I’m tired of the senseless violence — I actually care,” said Sgt. Joe Harden of the Eudora Police Department, which has a full-time staff consisting of him, the chief and another officer who recently graduated from the academy — all of whom have recently been working shifts of 14 hours or longer. “I just want things to change for the better.” Police say they have traced the turbulence mostly to young people, many of them high school age, who have been out on the streets at night, and skirmishes between cliques that escalate into violence.

But the blame also rests with something deeper, some residents say. The population of Eudora has dwindled over the years. The streets are dotted with shuttered storefronts, abandoned churches and overgrown properties. The high school closed. Harden remembered when Eudora had its own Little League. What remains, residents said, is a void that has allowed discord and crime to fester.

“There’s so much conflict in a little town — unnecessary conflict,” said the Rev. David Green Sr., 62, pastor of St. Peter Missionary Baptist Church, who was raised in Eudora and also raised his children there.

The troubles in Eudora afflict many rural towns across the South, where an absence of opportunity and resources has contributed to violence. Almost 60 miles north, in the small city of Dumas, a community festival in March broke out into gunfire, becoming one of the country’s largest mass shootings in 2022, with one person killed and 26 others wounded.

In Eudora, officials said there have been nearly a dozen shootings in recent weeks and threats of more violence. One night in December, four bullets were fired into Alilesha Henderson’s living room as her 6-year-old son played video games. The holes left in the wall were just a few inches above where he sat.

Though Police Chief Michael Pitts said at the meeting that state police were also investigating a homicide from earlier in the year, an Arkansas State Police agency spokesman said in a statement that “there is no pending request for Arkansas State Police assistance within the scope of the law … other than the one active homicide investigation.” Pitts detailed other issues his police force is dealing with.

“We’re in the middle of investigating home invasions,” Pitts said. “We’re … chasing juveniles driving cars, flipping cars over. We’re investigating people breaking into people’s houses. We’re investigating all of that, in between patrolling and trying to help the state investigate this murder.” While the exceptions listed when the curfew was announced included medical and job-related business, Pitts said the enforcement of the curfew is a “spirit-of-the-law situation,” rather than the letter of the law.

“Letter of the law is, you’re going one mile over the speed limit, I’m writing you a ticket,” Pitts said. “Spirit of the law is, he’s only going six over. Just slow down.

“We’re not strictly out here pulling people over, writing people up for a curfew violation. If you have a legitimate reason for being out, like going to the store and back, you’re not making blocks around the area where this person was just killed … [or] you’re acting suspiciously at 3 a.m. when a cop approaches.” Attempts by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to reach Butler for comment were unsuccessful. A call to the Eudora government’s main phone went unanswered and Butler did not respond to an email.

Fears have increased since Martene Frazell’s death on Christmas Eve, the second homicide in Eudora in 2022. A 40-year-old man was also wounded in the shooting, which is under investigation by the Arkansas State Police. No arrests have been made, authorities said.

Th at eve ning , Green rushed to Frazell’s home and sat with her, waiting for an ambulance to arrive. He tried to comfort her, imploring her to hang on, even as she told him she knew she would not survive.

“I held her hand till the last moment,” Green said.

Frazell was a familiar figure around Eudora, known for her jokes and friendly nature. She volunteered at Green’s church, where she worshipped, and did some work in a flower shop.

“She prayed over everyone,” Harden said.

James White, a manager of Southern Sips, a liquor store just off Eudora’s main street, said the turmoil in the city did not affect him until the Christmas Eve shooting. “It’s when that innocent woman was killed,” he said.

“Most of these kids grew up with each other,” White, a native of Eudora, said of the young people now in warring cliques. “Some of them ate at the same table at each other’s houses.” Butler announced the “mandated civil emergency curfew” two days after Christmas, and on Thursday, the city’s aldermen voted to extend the measure into the first week of January.

“The elderly, my people of wisdom, are afraid,” Butler said in an emergency town meeting Thursday night. “If you can’t feel safe at home, then what are we doing? It’s time to wake up.” Some argued that city leaders had acted rashly.

“It happened so fast,” Nancy Hollins, 69, said of the curfew. “You’ve got to consult the citizens.” As she saw it, teenagers were roaming the streets because their parents had abdicated their responsibilities. “We had curfews by our parents,” Hollins said as she waited for the meeting to start.

Janice Palmer piped up, recalling what her parents had told her when she was a child: “When the streetlights come on, be at home.” Palmer said she shared in the fear. “It makes you scared to sleep in your own home,” she said. But she was also worried about the curfew chipping into her earnings as the owner of Flavors, the wing joint that stayed open as late as midnight.

At the emergency community meeting, where dozens of residents crowded into the pews of a church, officials acknowledged the concerns. Butler said the curfew did not infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights. Police Chief Michael Pitts said the circumstances were dire enough to merit such a severe response.

“I know it’s an inconvenience for some, but it’s a comfort for others,” Pitts said, adding, “It’s not always going to remain this way.” The meeting grew tense and loud as residents stood up one after the next, asking why police had not done more to share information about crimes and demanding that city officials push harder for outside help. “Our city is under siege,” one woman said.

An older man asked if the police would stop or cite him if he was running late on his way home from running errands. Pitts replied that they most likely would not.

The curfew, he said, was meant to help the overwhelmed Police Department.

“We’re a skeleton crew,” Pitts said.

The department is also strapped for resources: Its vehicles are breaking down. Pitts’ ballistic vest is a hand-me-down. He and the other officers have to rely on their own binoculars.

“The criminals have better guns than what we’ve got,” Pitts said.

Pitts has pleaded with other law enforcement agencies for assistance, whether with officers or equipment. “We’re asking — we’re pleading — for help,” he said. “I don’t have an ego about this.” But Henderson stood up and told him that Eudora cannot count on others coming to their aid. “We’ve got to face the facts,” she said. “We as Eudora people should be used to being the underdog.” “Lives are at stake,” Henderson said. “People are trying to turn people against people. God is not pleased.” “Eudora,” she added, “needs to get back to being Eudora.”

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