LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An African American Pine Bluff state representative and a candidate for a similar seat in Little Rock are calling for action after an alleged confrontation with white neighbors after they left a house party/fundraiser.
At a news conference Monday, State Rep. Vivian Flowers (D - Pine Bluff) and Rev. Ryan Davis shared more details of the clash that came in the Stifft Station/Capitol View neighborhood on Feb. 3.
"It's happening right now. It happens every day," said Rep. Flowers of what she described as the all-to-often everyday racism she encounters.
"This is not my first experience in this world dealing with people who would question your mere existence," said Rev. Davis, a Democratic candidate running for the 34th District House seat in a special runoff election on May 11.
The two said they took a week to filter and process a confrontation they say took place on Dennison Road.
As they lingered in a conversation, they say two people came out of one home followed by a woman from another.
Each allegedly told Flowers and Davis they didn't belong there.
"At some point, that lady screamed, 'drop dead,' and then we heard a gunshot," Rep. Flowers said. The multiple 911 calls prompted police to respond with guns drawn.
The threat of someone getting shot hung in the air.
"Everyone in this room is aware of race as a factor in circumstances involving law enforcement," said Rep. Flowers.
"I don't feel like I require an official welcome in a city that I was born and raised in," said Davis referring to the invitations he has received to homes and neighborhoods in Little Rock.
"Beyond the welcome, which I am grateful for, what I also desire sometimes is to be left alone."
The woman who screamed "drop dead" has been cited for terroristic threatening. A woman who answered the door in the police report told a reporter she had nothing to say and called the whole situation "ridiculous."
Flowers and Davis ask Pulaski County prosecutors to hold the people in the confrontation accountable. County prosecutor Larry Jegley asked Little Rock police to build an investigative file to help determine if a felony occurred.
Other leaders in the area, including Flowers' colleagues from the district, are trying to look forward.
"I believe the best thing we can do is get to know our neighbors and have conversations about our neighborhoods and about our friends," said Tippi McCullough (D - Little Rock).
Davis stressed he did not want to politicize the incident. His opponent, Joy Springer, said she wouldn't comment and was focusing on getting voters to the polls.