LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Court of Appeals says the city of Little Rock should not have been held in contempt of court when it placed a former police officer on administrative leave during an ongoing employment dispute.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox held the city in contempt in January 2020. Days before, Fox overturned the city’s firing of former Little Rock Police Department officer Charles Starks over a deadly traffic stop shooting and ordered the city to reinstate Starks as an officer.

The city placed Starks on paid leave pending an appeal.

The city originally fired Starks in 2019 over a deadly shooting in which Starks, who is white, shot and killed a Black driver during a traffic stop.

Starks and his lawyers argued that placing him on “relieved of duty” status and withholding his badge, gun, and credentials prevented him from doing off-duty police work.

Fox held the city in contempt and ordered Starks be reinstated or the city would face a $10,000 daily fine.

In the opinion issued on Wednesday, the Court of Appeals argues that the city did not violate Fox’s initial order to rehire Starks and should not have been held in contempt.