Frustrated residents leave Marked Tree City Council meeting without answers

MARKED TREE, Ark. - - There were heated moments at a city council meeting in Marked Tree tonight. The small, Arkansas town is continuing to deal with a nearly depleted police force.

It was a packed room as residents showed up for answers but left without them.

"I would love for the mayor to come clean," one resident said.

Former police chief Michael Matlock resigned Friday, days after Mayor Steve Craig put him on administrative leave. Craig wouldn't tell us why last week and refused to say anything about it tonight.

"Not concerned. He resigned," Councilman Danny Johnson told us, "That's between him and the mayor. That's all I can say."

Anquan Williams is one of two former officers recently fired by the mayor. He claims he wasn't given a reason and demanded to know why tonight.

"With the council members here and the mayor here I would like to know why I got fired," he said to the mayor.

The mayor didn't answer.

"You ain't man enough to talk about it? I know you ain't," Williams said in response.

The mayor eventually had Williams escorted out and called him a clown because he kept laughing.

"Who a clown? You a clown. I know you a clown. Keep talking," Williams said.

Tonight's drama underscores a larger problem. The town's police force has dwindled from eight officers to two in recent months. Things are so bad the Poinsett County Sheriff's Department has stepped up patrols around town to help.

The mayor did hire an interim police chief yesterday. He's a man who's been chief before and he's trying to get the department's numbers back up.

"The chief knows some people that he's trying to get in," Councilman Johnson says.

Former chief Michael Matlock has not responded to calls and texts from WREG for comment.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.