Little Rock appeals decision to reinstate fired officer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – The city of Little Rock filed notice Friday it’s appealing a judge’s order to reinstate a police officer who was fired after fatally shooting a black motorist.

The city moved to have the state Court of Appeals review Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox’s Thursday ruling reinstating Officer Charles Starks. Fox reversed the city Civil Service Commission’s decision upholding Starks’ firing over the fatal shooting of Bradley Blackshire.

Starks fired at least 15 times through the windshield of a car Blackshire was driving in February.

Starks and another officer were attempting a motor vehicle stop at the time. Police commanders fired Starks in May, saying he violated department policy.

Fox upheld the commission’s ruling that Starks violated a policy prohibiting officers from voluntarily placing themselves in front of an oncoming vehicle “where deadly force is the probable outcome.” That policy requires officers to move out of an oncoming vehicle’s path if possible rather than firing a weapon.

But the judge said a 30-day suspension and reduction in salary to an entry level officer are more appropriate sanctions.

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