LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The legal battle involving Little Rock Officer Charles Starks is still ongoing almost a year after he shot and killed Bradley Blackshire. He was fired, and then unfired. The story is complicated, so here's the step-by-step.
February 22, 2019
Officer Charles Starks was intervening a report of a suspected stolen vehicle at 12th Street and Rodney Parham. The incident ended in gunfire and the officer-involved shooting death of 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire.
Starks says Blackshire drove his car towards him, and because a car is considered a deadly weapon, Starks said he had to fire in self-defense. You can find the video released by LRPD here.
(Eds. note: The video may contain graphic content.)
When the city hired its new police chief, Keith Humphrey, he said Starks put himself in danger by going in front of the car, which is against LRPD rules.
April 19, 2019
The protesters who called for Starks to be criminally charged with murder never got that when the city prosecutor examined the case and decided not to pursue charges.
May 6, 2019
However, Starks did get fired by Little Rock police.
The process onward was complicated.
September 4, 2019
First, Starks took his objections to Little Rock's Civil Service Commission, who ended up ruling against Starks saying that the police department, and the city, were justified in firing him.
Then, through his attorney Robert Newcomb, Starks took the city to court. He appealed again a month later, this time challenging the Civil Service Commission.
January 2, 2020
Starks won his appeal. Judge Tim Fox ruled that the City went too far in firing Officer Starks, and the only acceptable punishment included decreased pay, (starting salary) and a thirty-day suspension.
The court vacated his firing, which means, it is now as if the firing never really happened.
In the following weeks,
The city was ordered to put Starks back on the force and, give him about a half-year's worth of back-pay as if he had been working steadily since June, but with a starting salary.
Starks and the department couldn't agree on the payroll math, so the judge ordered them into mediation which still has not been completed.
But, there was another disagreement.
The police department listed Starks as "relieved of duty," meaning he could get paychecks, but not actually work for the department.
No badge, no gun.
So, his attorney went back to court and told the judge that the city wasn't cooperating.
January 21, 2020
The judge agreed, accusing the City of "an intentional and willful violation of the court's order."
Judge Fox demanded that the City put Officer Charles Starks back to work—for real— or else he would take away the police chief's badge and gun, which is where are now.