LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — According to a Pulaski County Court Judge ruling, the Little Rock Police Department must give Charles Starks his job back following the fatal officer-involved shooting of Bradley Blackshire.
The court found that Starks’ 30-day suspension and the salary reduction are the only appropriate punishment.
The court ruled there may be no additional penalties for 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.
Starks was fired by the Little Rock Police Department after shooting and killing Bradley Blackshire on February 22, 2019 during a traffic stop.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police said he was fired for violating a LRPD policy, which states:
“Officers will not voluntarily place themselves in a position in front of an oncoming vehicle, where deadly force is the probably outcome. When confronted by an oncoming vehicle, officers will move out of its path, if possible, rather than fire at the vehicle.”
He was cleared by the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney and won’t face criminal charges.
“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,” said Robert Newcomb, Starks’ attorney. “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.”
Newcomb also said that “Mr. Blackshire was the one who made decisions that led to this, not Officer Starks. Officer Starks was doing his job.”
A family friend of Blackshire, Rizelle Aaron, weighed in saying, “If Starks happens to kill again, and it happens to be a black man, that blood is not just on Starks’ hands. That blood is on Timothy Fox’s hands.”
Court documents say that Starks should be paid an entry level salary at the police department similar to that of a newly hired officer.
The court order also said that Starks “shall be paid all salary at the reduced level, together with payment or reimbursement for all health benefits, retirement benefits, vacation accrual, sick leave accrual, together with all remuneration due and payable from June 5, 2019, through implementation of this Order.”
During the fatal shooting, Starks shot at least 15 times through the front windshield while Blackshire was moving the car forward. A woman was also in the car with Blackshire as Starks shot into the vehicle.
Starks was fired in May 2019 by Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey.
The City of Little Rock is planning to appeal the court’s decision.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police (LRFOP) made a statement in response to the court’s decision, saying that “while we may not agree with the entirety of the decision, we congratulate Officer Starks and his family on his reinstatement as an officer with the Little Rock Police Department.”
WARNING: Below is the dashcam video of the fatal shooting of Bradley Blackshire.
We will update the story as more information becomes available.