NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Ethics Commission has ruled that a gift given to North Little Rock police officers by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones violated a state ethics law.
Back in November 2016, Jones provided free tickets to a Dallas Cowboys home game to nearly 200 officers and their families. He also gifted them airfare and hotel accommodations. Jones grew up and attended school in North Little Rock.
Russ Racop, who filed the complaint, alleged this gift violated the law on gifts for public servants, which states:
"No public servant shall receive a gift or compensation other than income and benefits from a governmental body to which he or she is duly entitled, for the performance of the duties and responsibilities of his or her office."
In an agreement, Sergeant Michael Gibbons, President of the North Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, agreed with the commission that he and other officers violated the law by accepting the gift. According to the ruling, Gibbons will not be sanctioned "based upon a showing of 'good cause.'"
The commission concluded that Jones' gift to the officers was to "show appreciation to North Little Rock Police Officers for their work and outreach programs for children" and that officers "relied upon the resolution's erroneous conclusion that your acceptance of the gifts outside the scope" of the law.
"Gifts like this to public officials, especially police officers, undermines public confidence in these officers and city officials, in that their ability to render fair and impartial treatment comes into question," Racop said in the original complaint.
In a blog post Friday, Racop said he never intended to punish the officers who accepted the gift.