LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Little Rock Police Department officer who had been fired last year following a deadly shooting has been order reinstated to his job by a local judge.
The decision in the case of Officer Charles Starks was revealed Thursday morning by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Davis Fox. [Click here to read the ruling].
Starks had been terminated by the LRPD following the February 2019 shooting death of Bradley Blackshire after a traffic stop.
Judge Fox’s decision states that Starks did violate a LRPD general order but reverses the action of the Little Rock Civil Service Commission that terminated Starks from the force.
The judge’s order reinstates Starks to his job effective June 5, 2019, which means he will receive backpay from that date.
Judge Fox also reduced Starks’ pay to that of the entry level salary for the LRPD’s newly hired officers, as of June 4, 2019.
Khayyam M. Eddings, who served as an attorney for the City of Little Rock in the case, released the following statement:
On behalf of the City of Little Rock, we respectfully believe that the Court erred.
The Court found that Officer Starks clearly violated General Order 303.II.E.2 of the Little Rock Police Department.
The Court also found that he made several non-emergency decisions that caused his violation of the General Order.
Finally, the Court found that “there is no question [Officer] Starks’ violation of Little Rock Police Department General Order 303.II.E.2 had serious and substantial consequences.”
Mr. Bradley Blackshire suffered the most serious and substantial consequence of Officer Starks’ violation of the General Order when he lost his life.
However, the Court made no analysis of mitigating factors that would justify a lesser penalty than termination – which it said is the absolute most severe consequence that could be levied against Officer Starks in this case.
Most often used in mitigation is acceptance of responsibility. In this case, Officer Starks steadfastly refused to accept responsibility for what the Court held was a clear violation of the General Order 303.II.E.2.
Understanding these facts, as counsel for the City of Little Rock we intend to appeal the Court’s decision and ask the Court to stay its order reinstating Officer Starks pending the appeal.Khayyam M. Eddings of Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP, served as city attorneys in the case