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story.lead_photo.caption Former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings (left) and his father, retired Little Rock police Capt. Terry Hastings, enter the federal courthouse in Little Rock on Wednesday during jury deliberations in his wrongful-death civil trial. - Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

UPDATE:

A jury in the civil trial of a former Little Rock Police Department officer who fatally shot a teen suspect has found him liable for the death and ordered him to pay $415,000.

Josh Hastings fatally shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore III Aug. 12, 2012. Hastings fired multiple shots at Moore while the teen was driving a Honda Civic as Hastings investigated car break-ins at the Shadow Lake Apartments, 13111 W. Markham St.

Hastings was fired from the force and criminally charged after the shooting, though two separate trials ended in hung juries.

The jury in the civil case, which had earlier indicated it wasn't able to agree on a verdict, returned to the courtroom with the unanimous decision at 3:15 p.m.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

UPDATE:

After reviewing security camera footage, a judge said Thursday there was no improper contact between a juror and the defendant in the civil trial of former Little Rock police officer who fatally shot a teen burglary suspect.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Miller is presiding over the civil suit against Josh Hastings, who fatally shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore III Aug. 12, 2012. Hastings fired multiple shots at Moore while the teen was driving a Honda Civic as Hastings investigated car break-ins at the Shadow Lake Apartments, 13111 W. Markham St.

The 11-member jury reconvened at 9 a.m. Thursday after they could not reach a unanimous verdict Wednesday night. Before the jury entered the courtroom, the lawyer representing Moore’s family, Michael Laux, told Miller he had heard a claim from his clients about possible juror misconduct.

After court adjourned on Friday evening, Deazzaray Perkins and another family member were outside the federal courthouse when they saw one of the jurors come out and then go back inside to speak with some of the guards, Laux told the judge. Then, Josh Hastings and a man Perkins believed to be his father, Terry Hastings, exited the courthouse with that juror following “inches” behind them, Laux said.

The father and son spoke to one another while the juror followed, head down, the family members told Laux. The trio crossed the street going south. Then, as Perkins’ family tried to take a picture, they dispersed and the juror left in a vehicle, Laux said.

Miller then left the courtroom to review security footage with the lawyers. He later returned and told the courtroom what the women said they saw, from the outside of the building, was mostly correct. The juror did go back inside the courthouse, then exit again behind Josh Hastings, who was accompanied not by his father, but by his father-in-law, Miller said. At some point, the parties parted ways.

However, after reviewing three different shots from inside the courthouse, Miller said neither Josh Hastings nor his father-in-law attempted to make any contact with the juror.

The tape shows the juror sitting on a bench in the atrium near the exit, Miller said. Meanwhile, Josh Hastings stood about 15 feet away and appeared to be waiting for his father-in-law. After a short time, both men exited, and the juror followed a couple steps behind, Miller said.

Hastings and his father-in-law never spoke to or looked at the juror, Miller said. He said he appreciated Moore’s family bringing the incident to his attention because even the “appearance” of unfairness is worth investigating.

“We had a chance to look at it. We had a chance to determine there was nothing to it,” the judge said.

Miller also told the courtroom the jury had requested a TV or DVD player, and he decided to send one back to view evidence that had already been submitted.

As of 11:10 a.m., the jury had not reached a verdict. Miller told the jurors before they reconvened if they don’t reach a consensus, the case will have to be retried.

Miller told the courtroom he did not expect the trial to go on this long and that he has an obligation at 5:30 p.m. He asked both the defense and the plaintiffs if they objected to subbing in another judge to read the verdict, if one is handed down. Neither side objected.

EARLIER:

The judge presiding over a lawsuit against a former Little Rock police officer who fatally shot a teenage burglary suspect plans to review security camera footage Thursday morning to investigate a claim of possible juror misconduct.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Miller is presiding over the civil suit against Josh Hastings, who fatally shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore III Aug. 12, 2012. Hastings fired multiple shots at Moore while the teen was driving a Honda Civic as Hastings investigated car break-ins at the Shadow Lake Apartments, 13111 W. Markham St.

The 11-member jury in the trial deliberated for more than 9 hours Wednesday to decide whether Hastings, 31, used excessive force when he shot and killed Moore and whether a reasonable officer would have done the same. Sylvia Perkins, Moore’s mother, filed the wrongful-death suit.

Around 10 p.m., the jury told the judge they could not reach a unanimous verdict. Miller sent them home, telling them to sleep on it and return at 9 a.m.

Before the jury reconvened Thursday morning, the lawyer representing Perkins, Michael Laux, told Miller he had heard about the “possibility of juror misconduct” from one of Moore’s family members.

After court adjourned Friday, Deazzaray Perkins said she and another family member were outside the federal courthouse when they saw one of the jurors come out, linger and then go back inside to speak with some of the guards, Laux told the judge. Then, Josh Hastings and his father, Terry Hastings, exited the courthouse with that juror following “inches” behind them, Laux said.

The father and son spoke to one another while the juror followed, head down, the family members told Laux. The trio crossed the street going south. Then, as Perkins’ family tried to take a picture, they dispersed and the juror got into a brown or tan truck, Laux said.

Neither the juror’s name nor identifying details were mentioned in the courtroom.

Laux told Miller that no lawyers on the defense team witnessed the incident and cannot speak to its veracity or falsehood. Laux said he was bringing it to the judge’s attention because he recently learned of the incident and felt it was his duty to tell the court.

Miller described his thought process to the lawyers in the courtroom, saying, “At this point, what do you do?” The jury has already met for 10 hours, he said, and there’s no telling what affect this juror might have had.

Miller also said there could be numerous mitigating circumstances — like the juror losing his or her cellphone — that could explain the incident. The judge decided that “if there’s video of it, we can see what it looks like” and then “deal with it” from there.

He asked a courtroom official to retrieve security footage from the federal courthouse.

Laux told the court he’s “not looking to milk something that’s not there.”

In response, Miller said, “Let’s just look at the tape.” Miller said if the events that the Perkins family described actually took place as like they said, he would likely declare a mistrial.

While Laux was speaking, Josh Hastings turned aftround to shush his visibly-upset family members, telling them to “stop it.”

After making a decision, Miller ushered the jury back into the courtroom. He did not tell them about the possible misconduct and instructed them to reconvene and try again to reach a verdict.

As a juror, you must “be willing to reexamine your own view and change your mind,” he said.

If a verdict cannot be reached, the case will have to be tried again, Miller said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of attorney Michael Laux.

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Comments

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  • cableguy
    April 13, 2017 at 11:10 a.m.

    A black person may not get a fair trial in Arkansas? This is shocking news. How could this happen, haven't Arkansas elected a black person to a statewide office and didn't we overwhelmingly vote for Obama? I truly believe Arkansas is the most racist state in America, which gives me solace because I know other black people don't have to deal with much as we do here.

  • Kharma
    April 13, 2017 at 12:41 p.m.

    So in 2008, Obama failed to carry 22 states and in 2012, he failed to carry 24. That certainly proves, by a preponderance of the evidence anyway, that the majority of voters in those states are highly prejudiced against mixed-race presidential candidates. Of course in the 2016 election HRC failed to carry at least 30 states and therefore the majority of voters in those states are most probably misogynists - right?

  • drs01
    April 13, 2017 at 12:54 p.m.

    This is not about race....it's about whether a jury will compensate a mother for being a bad parent not knowing that he 15 year old was out on the streets at 5am on a school night stealing sh*t from cars at an apartment complex with two of his friends.
    Crime has consequences...sometimes even death.

  • hah406
    April 13, 2017 at 1:38 p.m.

    Agree with drs01. This was a kid out doing a crime at a time that he should have been at home. His parents failed miserably, and he suffered the consequences. This is going to be another hung jury, and it is time to stop trying the officer over and over.

  • cableguy
    April 13, 2017 at 3 p.m.

    drs01 point well taken, but this is about race. The facts and law says this Hastings guy has been liar before the murder of this 15 year old and he also lied about this case. I feel the mother should get awarded only half the damages because she is also partly responsible for his death. Our president Trump said that we are a civilized nation and if that be the case, the death sentence shouldn't be the punishment for stealing.

  • LR1955
    April 13, 2017 at 3:20 p.m.

    Looking at this from the middle, teens have snuck out at night for decades, sometimes to meet a girlfriend, sometimes to meet guy buddies. Generally up to mischief, hardly ever to study. You can't know that she knew he went out at night or that if she had caught him, that she'd have been able to stop him. Aftewr all, there was a gun in the car the teens were in that night, might have been Moores. Who's to say he wouldn't have shot his own mom.

  • cableguy
    April 13, 2017 at 3:25 p.m.

    Kharma it's fine that you want to put your head in the sand and actually believe that race is irrelevant in Arkansas. For example, the mundane task of shopping for clothes is much more different for a black person than for a white person. From the time I step out my vehicle in a parking lot, I hear double chirps than the blowing of the horn by people that make sure their vehicles are locked at the sight of me. If I dare turn around while shopping for clothes, two employees are staring at me. These things don't happen when I'm not in Arkansas. Let me get back on the jury system in Arkansas, do you really think it would be fair to be judge by almost all black juries every time you went to court? Most white people fire bomb the court house if that was the case, but black people have to be judge by mostly white jurors whom often are clueless to the realities of the black experience. Kharma you should read about who was put to death in Arkansas most often in the 1900's. It was almost exclusively black men. If you want to believe that all discrimination disappeared since then you are free to be ignorant.

  • cableguy
    April 13, 2017 at 4:34 p.m.

    Great job jurors!

  • titleist10
    April 13, 2017 at 4:42 p.m.

    Get rewarded for breaking the law-Something wrong with this picture-every thug will try to cash in hoping the only get wounded

  • HarleyOwner
    April 13, 2017 at 5:05 p.m.

    Apparently the ones that thought Hastings was not liable were bullied by the ones that thought he was.

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