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May 25, 2018
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William L Copeland, 12/30/1885
Updated On: Mar 08, 2014

Patrolman William L. Copeland was killed after being assaulted by a jail trusty who was on work release. 

Officer Copeland was in uniform walking to work at 1900 hours when he spotted the trusty standing on the corner. With the knowledge that trusties had to be back to the jail by 1800 hours, he began to question the man.
The suspect had a special permit to be out until 2200 hours, however, during the questioning the man hit Officer Copeland in the head with a blunt object and fled the scene. Officer Copeland was found about two hours later and taken to a local drug store where he succumbed to his injuries shortly after midnight. The suspect was apprehended and convicted of Officer Copeland's murder.

Officer William Copeland was the first known Little Rock Police Officer to have been killed. 

William Copeland was an African-American who had joined the all-white regiment in Ohio at the age of 19, and fought in the Civil War. He was in one of the regiments that was present at Appomattox when Robert E. Lee surrendered to the North in 1865.  Copeland was later mustered out of the army in October 1865. Copeland returned home and finished school at Oberlin College in Ohio. In 1870, he moved to Crittendon County in Arkansas and served two terms as a State Representative in that state's legislature during Reconstruction. By the late 1870's, Copeland had moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.  Copeland had first taken a job as a postal clerk prior to being hired as a Little Rock Police Officer. 


More Information:
News article about locating Copeland's graves
William L Copeland, Resting Place
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