A former Little Rock Police Department officer was found not guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge in the shooting of a man last summer outside a Chick-fil-A, court officials said.
Pulaski County District Judge Wayne Gruber made the ruling Friday following last month's trial for 56-year-old Ralph Breshears, traffic criminal supervisor Stacey Tan said.
"Judge Gruber was very thoughtful and considerate in arriving at a conclusion in a difficult and complicated case, and we're grateful for the result," Breshears' attorney, Blake Hendrix, said.
Breshears, who retired last year from the agency, shot and wounded Rudy Avila outside a Chick-fil-A in west Little Rock on July 19, 2017. Police said Avila, now 24, was a shoplifting suspect who fled police custody, then forced a woman from her vehicle and tried to drive away.
Breshears shot Avila several times in the arm, and the man was treated in a hospital for five days before he was booked into the jail. He pleaded guilty to robbery and felony theft in April in exchange for a 15-year sentence, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.
A review of the shooting led prosecutors to charge Breshears with misdemeanor battery in January after determining that he had been negligent and put the car owner in harm's way when he opened fire.
Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter John Lynch contributed to this story.