Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued an executive order Tuesday declaring an emergency due to protests across the state.
The order said people have the right to peaceably assemble and protest, and that the state has committed to protecting those rights, but protests “have been overtaken by destructive and violent individuals...”
The order said it was issued to maintain the rule of law and protect the citizens from violence and damage. It reads:
“I do hereby direct the Arkansas State Police, as the lead agency, together with Sheriff Offices and Police Departments in those jurisdictions impacted this emergency, to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights, and ensure public safety.
“I further order that Sheriff Offices and Police Departments shall have command and operational control over security in their respective jurisdictions relating to areas of protest, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.
“I further order the Unified Command may assume command and operational control in such jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command.
“I further order the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, through its Director, to engage, deploy, and coordinate available resources, in accordance with [ACA 12-75-110-111], as may be necessary to carry out requests processed through the Unified Command and ordered by the Governor of the state to protect life and property and support civilian authorities.
“I further order, pursuant to [ACA 12-61-111 and ACA 12-61-115], the Adjutant General of the State of Arkansas, or his designee, to forthwith call and order into active service such portions of the organized militia as he deems necessary to protect life and property and assist civilian authorities and it is further directed that the Adjutant General, or his designee, to take such action, to include establishing an arming order and employing non-lethal methods in accordance with Arkansas law and to employ such equipment as necessary to carry out requests processed through the Unified Command and ordered by the Governor of the state to protect life and property and support civilian authorities.”
The order was signed June 2 and it says it will be in place for 30 days “unless extended in whole or in part by subsequent Executive Order.”