LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock police have completed an investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting last month and released video of the deadly encounter to the public.
The actions of Bradley Blackshire, 30, forced Officer Charles Starks to use lethal force during an investigative detention Feb. 22.
Police said Blackshire was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen. According to initial police accounts, the vehicle was stopped when Blackshire accelerated and hit Starks. Starks then opened fire while partially laying on the hood of the stolen automobile.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr., speaking at a news conference Thursday alongside Interim Police Chief Wayne Bewley, said that the department had completed the criminal investigations. As a result, the case has been submitted to prosecutors for review. Scott also said the FBI was looking into the fatal OIS on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, reported KATV.
Authorities say that the administrative portion of the investigation is on going.
Scott said that earlier this week Blackshire’s family viewed footage of the OIS recorded by police dashboard cameras.
Police released a roughly 25-minute version of the footage Thursday afternoon.
An attorney for Blackshire’s family has disputed the police account of the justified homicide. Omavi Shukur said the car was slowly rolling forward when Starks stepped in front of the vehicle and shot Blackshire multiple times. Shukur said Blackshire did not accelerate.
Shukur also said there’s no evidence indicating Blackshire knew the vehicle had been reported stolen, according to KATV. He has called on Arkansas State Police to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting.
The police department’s use-of-force policy instructs officers to move out of the path of a moving vehicle instead of shooting at it. Officers are only allowed to fire at a moving vehicle to “prevent imminent death or serious physical injury.”
The department also prohibits officers from boxing in vehicles and ramming vehicles. Video of the Blackshire killing shows a police vehicle blocking his path and an officer ramming into the vehicle after it starts moving.
Starks has been relieved of duty while police investigate the shooting. He is still employed by the department but has been stripped of his weapon and credentials. An investigation is ongoing.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police released a statement Thursday addressed to officers.
“We know that you put your lives on the line every day you go to work,” the statement, in part, says. “We know that Monday morning quarterbacks and Facebook experts will second guess your split second decisions sitting on a couch with a phone or a computer. You have the same constitutional rights as every citizen and we will make sure you are afforded due process.”