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Jonesboro police chief suspended without pay

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

Jonesboro Police Chief Brad Johnson is back at work after being suspended without pay for almost a week, according to Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox.

"It [suspension] was for insubordination and disrespect to the office of mayor," said Maddox.

The suspension was scheduled to last five business days, from Tuesday, April 28, through Monday, May 4, according to Maddox, but did not actually start until 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, due to a police matter that had to be handled, he said.

Maddox said because the suspension is a personnel matter, he did not want to discuss the issue further, pending an appeal, which is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Jonesboro City Council.

Chief Johnson declined to comment, referring all questions to his attorney, Keith Martin.

Martin said Johnson filed an appeal which will be heard by the city council at 3 p.m., Wednesday, in the courtroom at the Jonesboro Police Department.

"I'm having difficulty understanding what the mayor intended to suspend him for," said Martin. "He mentioned disrespect, professionalism, and attire," Martin said.

"He [Johnson] was glad to get back to work," said Martin. "He has always had the best interest of the citizens of Jonesboro in his heart and mind, and he'll be glad to get this behind him," Martin said.

Martin said he was not aware of any problems between the mayor and police chief that might have precipitated the suspension. "I don't know that they're chummy, but I don't know that they're enemies, either," said Martin.

During a city council meeting in April, a dispute among citizens, the police chief, and the mayor unfolded as a result of the mayor giving Johnson an executive order not to hire another officer until after the city's April meeting.

During the meeting, the council, however, allowed the police department to fill a vacant officer position, while approving a city-wide hiring freeze for all other positions.