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Families sue LRPD over 2 officer-involved shootings

The Little Rock Police Department faces two new lawsuits over use of deadly force. This now makes three active lawsuits against the department in federal court related to deadly shootings
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Little Rock Police Department faces two new lawsuits over use of deadly force. This now makes three active lawsuits against the department in federal court related to deadly shootings.

These new complaints include allegations the department intentionally concealed information.

Attorney Michael Laux represents the family of Eugene Ellison, the man shot and killed by two LRPD officers in 2010.

Now he's added two other families and two other shootings to what he believes is a pattern of police misconduct and excessive force.

"Material facts which tend to incriminate the officers were fraudulently concealed by the Little Rock Police Department," Laux says.

The 2008 case involves the deadly police shooting of Collin Spradling. The officers say they believed he had a gun and pointed it them. But Laux contends Spradling never had a gun and was shot five times by officers while being arrested.

The 2009 case centers on Landris Hawkins, a man with emotional problems wielding a knife and threatening family members. Two officers in that case fired from outside the house after they say Hawkins made a move towards them.

"Instead of acting reasonably and trying to understand what's going on here, inevitably they brandish weapons and they fire those weapons and people die," Laux says.

Laux says more troubling are the internal investigations, which he says are incomplete and biased, making it impossible for a prosecutor to file charges.

"A different approach, an approach that was consistent with police general orders would clearly have avoided the deaths of these two young men," Laux says.

Part of the lawsuit also says LRPD chief Stuart Thomas and the city has permitted a culture of excessive force and disregarding its own policies.

Little Rock Police Department will not comment on either of the latest lawsuits.
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