LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - Six suspensions over five years and a Little Rock police officer is still hanging onto his job. The officer recently made headlines after an on-the-job shooting, leaving a 15-year-old boy dead.
Patrol officer Josh Hastings is currently on paid leave pending an investigation into that on-the-job shooting in August where he fired at a vehicle with some car-break in suspects inside. As he waits his fate for that incident, we're learning more about a troubled past with the force. (http://on.kthv.com/PZMpVm)
A Little Rock crime scene August 12 left a mother in disbelief.
"Only thing I got to say is whatever my son did, it didn't give the officer the right to shoot my son," Sylvia Perkins said.
Her 15-year-old son was killed by a bullet, Little Rock police say, fired by Officer Josh Hastings because he felt threatened.
"Our detectives are reviewing the case as well as our internal affairs, just routine, to make sure policies and procedures were followed," Sgt. Cassandra Davis said.
It's a microscope under Officer Hastings, once again. Police Spokeswoman Cassandra Davis says he's received six suspensions during his five years on the job.
"Six is on the high end," Sgt. Davis said.
Davis says that Hastings previous suspensions never included any excessive force. But she says they did include lying to a supervisor about his location on the job, failure to appear in court for a case and patrolling outside of his district to work a call for an outside agency without permission.
"Some people outside this profession may think, six times, why hasn't the guy been let go?" THV's Max Seigle asks.
"Well again, our officers get suspensions and it's part of a corrective action and just because an officer was suspended does not necessarily mean it was for excessive force, it could be for some policy violation," Sgt. Davis said.
Davis says the department felt discipline trumped a firing to resolve Hastings previous issues.
She says the department offers internal and external training for officer problems on the job. The external help often tackles more personal matters with outside professionals. Inside training includes things like traffic classes for accidents on the job and multi-cultural training for officers struggling to interact with people of other races. Sgt. Davis didn't believe Officer Hastings received any outside help and couldn't tell us for certain during our interview on Monday if there was any inside assistance.
Sgt. Davis says there's no word right now on when the review will be done on the August on-the-job shooting.
In addition to what we found out about Hastings, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette uncovered some more serious complaints, like damaging department property, sleeping on the job and showing a "quote" reckless disregard for public safety. The paper said all six suspensions combined took Hastings off the job for just more than a month.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette also says Officer Hastings apologized to his supervisors during the hearings for his past suspensions. And in files the newspaper obtained, Officer Hastings stated that he learned from his mistakes and was taking measures to prevent future problems.