Little Rock Looks To Rebuild Trust In Police After Shooting

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Little Rock’s mayor has proposed measures aimed at increasing police accountability and restoring the community’s trust in law enforcement after an officer fatally shot a motorist during a traffic stop.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. wants to create an independent civilian police board and a police accountability task force to help repair the relationship between residents and law enforcement officials following Friday’s shooting, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The board would work to ensure law enforcement is held accountable and is responsive to residents, while the task force would review officers’ interactions with residents, Scott said.

Officer Charles Starks pulled over Bradley Blackshire, 30, after spotting his vehicle was marked as stolen, police said in a news release. Blackshire refused to get out of the car, accelerated and hit Starks, who opened fire, police said. Blackshire died at the scene.

“In the aftermath of an incident like this, emotions will rightly run high,” Scott said. “But the Little Rock I know and love has seen difficult days before and emerged a better, stronger city as a result. I expect nothing less this time around.”

Starks was taken to a hospital and released later that day. Starks has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation is ongoing, said Interim Police Chief Wayne Bewley. Starks has been a police officer since 2013.

“The Blackshire family has our assurances that this matter will be fully investigated,” Scott said at a news conference Sunday. “In the spirit of fairness and recognition of the incredibly difficult and tragic circumstances of this incident, I extended the same promise to officer Starks’ family and the Little Rock Police Department.”

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