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Little Rock Police Officer charged with manslaughter

Officer Josh Hastings has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a 15-year-old boy, FOX16 has learned.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP & KLRT) – Officer Josh Hastings has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a 15-year-old boy, FOX16 has learned.

According to police reports, Hastings shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore after Moore and two friends were allegedly caught trying to break into cars at the Shadow Lake Apartments on Markham around 5:00 am on August 13.

According to the charging affidavit, autopsy indicated Moore’s head was turned to the right, looking over his shoulder, when he was shot. Moore was killed instantly by a single shot to the head.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas said in a statement that evidence shows the car stopped several feet from Hastings and that the driver was starting to back up when Hastings fired.

Thomas says prosecutors agreed that the use of force wasn't justified the night of Moore's death.

Hastings bonded out of jail on a $15,000 bond Friday afternoon. Hastings' attorney says his client is upset.

"He is disappointed. He believes he is innocent of these charges. He was simply protecting the citizens of this city. Sometimes when you protect the city, you have to protect yourself and that's what he did. He is disappointed. But he knows in the long run, he is going to be proven innocent," said attorney Bill James.

Statement from Chief of Police Stuart Thomas

"On Sunday, August 12, 2012, Little Rock Police Department Officer Josh Hastings responded to a suspicious persons call at Shadow Lake Apartments at 13111 W. Markham during which he encountered three individuals who had been breaking into cars and were leaving the area in a stolen vehicle.

According to Officer Hastings, the fleeing vehicle came directly towards him as he identified himself and shouted for them to stop and fearing it was about to hit him and having no time or safe avenue to retreat, he fired his service weapon at the vehicle.

Again, according to Officer Hastings, the vehicle continued past him a short distance up a slight incline, then rolled backwards some distance and collided with a parked car on the parking lot. Two of the individuals in the car fled the scene on foot at this point and were later apprehended. The driver of the vehicle, a 15-year-old male suffered gunshot wounds and was deceased at the scene.

Pursuant to department general orders two separate investigations were initiated by Major Crimes and Internal Affairs Unit. I have reviewed this matter and have concluded that the incident did not occur in the manner represented by Officer Hastings and that the used of deadly force did not confirm to departmental orders.

Additionally, the prosecuting attorney's office has similarly concluded that the use of deadly force was not justified pursuant to Arkansas Statue and today has approved charging Officer Hastings with violation of 5-10-104, Manslaughter. This case is now being brought forward by the Department.

The evidence development during the course of the investigations indicates that the vehicle approaching the officer had in fact stopped several feet from him and that the driver was in the process of reversing direction when the shots were fired. Medical opinion provides that the driver was immediately incapacitated by his wounds. There is no evidence to support the officer's claim that the vehicle continued past him, and significant indication that the vehicle would necessarily had to have been in reverse at some point to reach the location of its collision with a parked car.

Officer Josh Hastings has been charged in this matter and remains relieved of duty while departmental administrative proceedings are conducted. The victim's family has been notified of the department 's findings and actions."
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