Commission Upholds Firing Little Rock Police Officer Over Deadly Shooting

Charles Starks (photo courtesy of Little Rock Police)

The Little Rock Civil Service Commission on Wednesday voted to uphold the firing of a Little Rock police officer over his actions in a deadly shooting this year.

Charles Starks fatally shot Bradley Blackshire, 30, in February. Blackshire was driving a stolen car when he accelerated and hit Starks. Starks then opened fire.

Starks was not charged in the shooting but was fired after an internal investigation. A letter of termination from Chief Keith Humphrey to Starks says that Starks violated the department’s use-of-force policy. The policy prohibits officers from moving in front of an oncoming vehicle when deadly force is the probable outcome.

Starks was fired against the recommendation of supervisors who reviewed the incident, according to testimony at the hearing. Assistant Chief Hawyard Finks testified that the investigation of the shooting was rushed because Mayor Frank Scott Jr. wanted Starks fired “as quickly as possible.” Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley has also said that Scott rushed the investigation.

“I was directly told that he [mayor] wanted to fire officer Starks without any due process,” he said in an interview with KATV.

The seven-person Civil Service Commission oversees policy and personnel decisions at the city’s police and fire departments.

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