Ark. city reinstates officer after judge finds city in contempt

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Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After a ruling Tuesday morning by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox, the City of Little Rock has reinstated Officer Charles Starks.

Starks was fired in May 2019 by Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphreys after he shot and killed Bradley Blackshire in February 2019.  

If the city did not comply with Judge Fox’s orders over giving Officer Starks back his gun, badge and credentials, the city would have been held in contempt, and Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey would have to turn in his own badge and gun. 

The city would have had to pay a fine of $10,000 a day if it didn't comply with the order.

"The judge wanted to make sure they understood he was serious. His orders mean what they say," said Robert Newcomb, Starks' attorney. "I hope and expect the mayor and the chief of police will obey the law."

Newcomb confirmed his client had his gun, badge, and police identification as of 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. He said Starks was prepared to visit the shooting range to prove his weapon proficiency and avoid any further delays of returning to work.

Starks sat diagonally across from Little Rock mayor Frank Scott Jr. in the courtroom and mostly avoided eye contact during the half-hour hearing. Pointing to a pending appeal of the case, neither the mayor nor police chief made comments after court adjourned.

Two supporters of the Blackshire family harangued Starks, Newcomb and sheriff's deputies on the steps of the court house. Some have expressed fear that Starks would be back on the street, but his attorney said he didn't think his client would become a beat cop anytime soon.

"They can put him in training. They can put him in accreditation. They can put him in the wellness unit," Newcomb said. "He just wants to do any job that a police officer regularly performs."