Rogers Mayor Speaks Out Against City Attorney Using Badge At Concert
ROGERS (KFSM) – The Rogers city attorney will face no criminal charges after using his city badge to get a drink at a local concert, prosecutors said Friday. Hours after the decision was announced, the mayor spoke out against the city attorney and called his actions “egregious”.
Special prosecutor Marc McCune announced Friday no charges would be filed against city attorney Ben Lipscomb, after Lipscomb used a city badge to gain entry into a VIP tent at a Miranda Lambert concert over the summer. Lipscomb was retrieving a drink for his wife, McCune said.
Despite the findings, Mayor Greg Hines released a statement calling Lipscomb’s behavior “troubling”.
“Mr. Lipscomb’s actions were inappropriate and served up more than a cocktail. They served up public scrutiny, distrust and embarrassment to Rogers and area elected officials,” Hines said.
Hines also said there are more troubling parts to the case, aside from the potentially criminal aspects.
“The greater concern is an elected official thinking it’s OK to use his position to gain access to a restricted area for the sole purpose of obtaining a cocktail,” he said. “If getting a drink is so important, buy the VIP tickets.”
McCune, the Crawford County prosecutor, said the case came down to one person’s word against the city attorney, and there is not enough evidence to show criminal wrongdoing by Lipscomb. The prosecutor also said the woman supervising the VIP tent at the concert may have misunderstood the situation, and Lipscomb may not have been trying to impersonate a police officer at the time.
McCune began investigating Lipscomb last month following allegations the city attorney used his city badge to get into the VIP tent at the Miranda Lambert concert at the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers on July 12, officials said.
The prosecutor said Lipscomb “was merely trying to gain access to the VIP tent to get a drink for his wife” and was not intending to harass anyone. Even if Lipscomb had claimed to be an undercover officer, he would have needed to act “with the purpose to injure, defraud, harass or intimidate another person” in order to have broken Arkansas law, McCune said.
Lipscomb’s city badge identifies him as a prosecuting attorney and city attorney, not as a police officer.
McCune was assigned as a special prosecutor to investigate the case in order to avoid any conflict of interest involving local prosecutors.
Click here to read the statement released by the special prosecutor.
Mayor Greg Hines’ statement appears below:
I did what I thought was appropriate and tuned it over to the Prosecuting Attorneys Office. I respect the Special Prosecutors decision. In my judgement, the potential misdemeanor charge was hardly the most egregious part of this incident. The greater concern is an elected official thinking it’s okay to use his position to gain access to a restricted area for the sole purpose of obtaining a cocktail. If getting a drink is so important, buy the VIP tickets. As a former law enforcement officer, its troubling to think your local city prosecutor would act in this manner. Mr. Lipscomb’s actions were inappropriate and served up more than a cocktail, they served up public scrutiny, distrust, and embarrassment to Rogers and area elected officials.