Judge Orders Little Rock PD To Reinstate Officer Fired For Justified Shooting

A judge ordered the Little Rock PD to reinstate Officer Charles Starks, who was fired for a justified shooting in May.

Little Rock, AR – A judge ordered the Little Rock Police Department to reinstate former Little Rock Police Officer Charles Starks on Wednesday and the city said it planned to appeal the ruling.

Circuit Judge Tim Fox reversed the Little Rock Civil Service Commission’s ruling that upheld the termination of Officer Starks despite the fact that the fatal shooting of Bradley Blackshire had already been ruled justified, the KTHV reported.

The court found that Starks’ 30-day suspension and a salary reduction were the only appropriate punishment and ruled there could be no more penalties assigned to Officer Starks.

"The court has determined the 30-day suspension and the reduction in salary to that of an entry level officer are sufficient sanctions for Appellant Starks' violation of Little Rock Police Department General Order 303.II.E.2," the court ruling said.

The judge also ordered that Officer Starks should get back pay, at the lesser rate, and reimbursement or payment for all benefits from the time of his termination to his reinstatement, KTHV reported.

Officer Starks’ attorney, Robert Newcomb, said his client was happy to be returning to the police force, KTHV reported.

"He gets to go back and get his job which he is happy about. He's going back as an entry level employee, and I understand that," Newcomb said. "I hope that the city allows him to go back and does not appeal this. It heads off to the Court of Appeals now. That's the way the state has set up the process."

The fatal encounter occurred on Feb. 22, after Officer Starks spotted 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire driving a stolen vehicle in the area of Rodney Parham Road and West 12th Street, KATV reported at the time.

Blackshire backed into a parking place in a nearby lot, at which point Officer Starks drove up in his marked patrol vehicle with his lights activated, according to the Associated Press.

The officer drew his weapon, approached Blackshire’s driver’s side window, and ordered him to show his hands.

He then ordered Blackshire to get out of the vehicle multiple times, dashcam footage showed.

“What did I do?” Blackshire asked, refusing to get out of the car. “What are you going to shoot me for?”

“Get out of the car!” Officer Starks said repeatedly.

“No,” the suspect responded, just before he started driving the stolen vehicle towards the officer.

Officer Starks moved backwards and continued to issue commands, but Blackshire proceeded to drive into him.

The officer fired several rounds, at which point the car continued to move forwards, knocking Officer Starks onto the hood.

The officer fired multiple rounds at the driver through the windshield as the car carried him across the parking lot.

A second patrol car then pulled up, and collided with the passenger side of the stolen vehicle.

Officer Starks tumbled from the hood, and both officers converged on the driver.

“Put your f--king hands up!” the second officer ordered repeatedly.

But Blackshire accelerated again, sending the vehicle into a grassy area at the far end of the lot, where it crashed into something off-camera and came to rest near a tree.

“Hey, can I jump out?” a female passenger in the suspect vehicle asked the officers.

The woman climbed out of the passenger side window, then said something to one of the officers.

“She said he’s got a gun!” Officer Starks yelled out.

The officers repeatedly ordered Blackshire to show his hands and radioed for an ambulance.

Blackshire died at the scene, Little Rock Interim Police Chief Wayne Bewley said, according to the Associated Press.

Officer Starks suffered an injury to his right leg, and the female passenger in the stolen car was uninjured.

In April, Officer Starks was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the fatal officer-involved shooting, KATV reported.

Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey went against the recommendations of four police supervisors who reviewed the case, and fired Officer Starks on May 6.

In the letter of termination, Chief Humphrey alleged that Officer Starks violated the department’s use-of-force policy by not moving out of the path of the suspect’s vehicle as it was moving towards him.

"When confronted by an oncoming vehicle, officers will move out of its path, if possible, rather than fire at the vehicle," the policy read, according to KATV.

Little Rock Assistant Chief Hayward Finks was one of the senior officers who reviewed the incident.

"I do not believe that Officer Starks intentionally nor voluntarily stepped in front of the vehicle driven by [the suspect],” Assistant Chief Finks wrote in a letter documenting his findings.

The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) also expressed its strong disagreement with Officer Starks’ termination.

"Officers are required to make split second decisions and today’s decision has the potential to make officers hesitate in their actions, which could prove detrimental to the citizens of Little Rock and the officers themselves," the FOP said.

Comments (52)
No. 1-20
JBoH
JBoH

“What are you going to shoot me for?”

Asked and answered. Next question?

bronx163
bronx163

Just fucking amazing how south west are getting infected with pussy lib agenda like up here in ny. Blue state cancer cells are infecting the south. Low taxes cheap land. The ruined colorado with calf blue commie state cancer.

bryantrent
bryantrent

I support the judge ruling

gfc1963
gfc1963

Good. The guy did nothing wrong. The scumbag knew he was wanted and played stupid games. And won top prize!

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

So after watching the dash cam, it looks like the officer was trying to get the suspect to stop as he was refusing to exit the car, and the suspect started to drive away. I'm not sure when the officer when from the driver's side door to the driver's front tire, and ultimately the hood of the car, but it's possible that the officer violated a policy. Not there, wasn't there, can't tell.

That being said, the criminal failed to follow the officers commands, stole a car, had a handgun in the car (I thought criminals couldn't do that, isn't that what gun laws are for), and was actively threatening the officer's life by hitting him with his car and not stopping. The officer was 100% justified in using deadly force, as it was a direct result of the criminals actions. Termination was for political reasons, and I'm glad he got his job back.

Wish505
Wish505

Hum, I know Chief Humphries and he has always been straight forward and community oriented as well as being a good administrator and a fair chief. There is something here he is seeing that others are missing. I now he has a huge tasking ahead since he is new to his position in LR. Granted I know what the perp did was stupid and he was just asking for grief. But hell who in there right mind would think they are superman and stay in the path of an oncoming vehicle and yes watching the video he had time to move out of harms way.

GForce48
GForce48

Excellent ruling by the judge...about time the judicial branch starts to support our law enforcement officers! We can't count on politicians and police executives that are beholden to the crooked, misguided, and disingenuous politicians!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

#needsappealed

temarch
temarch

Fire the Chief or demote him. He will make more bad decisions that will cost the city a fortune in lost court cases.

Raymelson
Raymelson

I think the officer did the right thing it seems to me like the dude had a death wish

Pro2A
Pro2A

Got to get the blues out of Congress and pass some kind of civil and criminal immunity statute for officers using lethal force.

Pro2A
Pro2A

Pardon, by "blues" I mean blue zone politicians, like Illian Omar, Mario Cuomo, not knights in blue.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

What kind of dumbfuck stands in front of a vehicle.

lobo267
lobo267

To wish505, have you ever heard of "tunnel vision"? This is a phenomenon that a lot of First Responders especially police officers experience in high-intensity quick moving situations. It is not easily controlled and it is not something we like. I have experienced this firsthand on a few occasions. It's not something that is controlled easily and focuses your attention to a pinpoint observation. The brain cannot process that many things going on at one time. The officer's Focus was on getting the suspect to listen to commands. The chief also has tunnel vision and cannot see the whole picture he can only see the officer not moving out of the way.

rvigneault
rvigneault

Good for him, all the guy had to do was comply, not try to run down the cops!

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Mark-up a win for the Good Guys!

lolamae
lolamae

I support the Judges ruling and the city damn well better comply, what are they a bunch of cop hating liberals?

lolamae
lolamae

The city is going to appeal, they must be all libtards. Only liberals go against the majority rule.

spd522
spd522

Had the criminal been white, the cop would have never been fired. Had the cop been black, he would never have been fired. But a white cop shoots a black criminal so there must be justice to appease the natives.