Citing concerns over an increase in violence, Mike Gaskill, the mayor of Paragould Arkansas, told residents to expect police armed with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles to stop everyone they see on the streets to demand identification. Guilty until proven innocent, Gaskill implied it is the job of the residents to prove they are doing nothing wrong.
“I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out,” Gaskill told a group of residents at a town hall meeting to announce the plan. “Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”
“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”
Following the frightening proclamation from the town’s mayor, two subsequent town hall meetings have been canceled due to “public safety concerns”, and to this point, no AR-15-armed police officers have been sighted on the streets harassing the town’s people.