White Arkansas official pulls gun on black former colleague — and claims he was the one being ‘attacked’
Video has emerged of a white local lawmaker pulling a gun on a black former official at an Arkansas election commission meeting this week, according to the Arkansas Times.
The video shows Jefferson County Republican election commissioner Stu Soffer pulling a small handgun out of his pocket and holding it at his side while having a heated disagreement with former Democratic commissioner Ted Davis.
Davis can be heard saying, “No one’s talking to you! That’s right buddy, no one’s talking to you!” Davis does not make any physical contact with Soffer. Another man, commission Chairman Mike Adam who is white, then approaches Davis and says, “Excuse me, Mr. Davis, step back and leave him alone, do not attack him.”
Davis and other bystanders then ask what Adam means, and say Davis was not attacking him.
When criticized by bystanders for pulling the weapon, Soffer said he felt threatened.
“I’m 74 years old and I was in fear of my life,” he told the Pine Bluff Commercial.
In a statement to the Times, Soffer claims he got the gun out of his car because he “didn’t have a good feeling” about things and said Davis approached him with a “weird look on his face.” He said Davis appeared to be in a “trance,” only snapped out of it by Adam.
The incident happened after a heated meeting, where Davis had accused the commission of trying to take the responsibility of hiring and firing election coordinators away from County Judge-elect Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV, who is black, according to the Commercial. Davis said the move was racially motivated.
The Times reports the Republican-controlled commission adjourned while a Democrat was speaking, cutting him off.
Police responded to the Thursday incident, took a report and left without making any arrests.
The video was posted today by attorney Lawrence Walker, who is representing Davis, and said he is considering legal action against Soffer.
Watch video of the confrontation, as posted to YouTube, here: