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story.lead_photo.caption Officer Charles Starks of the Little Rock police is shown firing into the vehicle driven by Bradley Blackshire, first from the side and then from the front, in this Feb. 22 police dashboard camera video. The video shows Starks confronting Blackshire, ordering him multiple times to get out of the car. Then the car rolls forward, striking Starks.

Bradley Blackshire was killed because Little Rock police almost never punish officers for shooting into moving cars, a federal lawsuit filed on Monday by his mother claims.

Kim Blackshire-Lee sued Charles Starks; the since-fired police officer who fatally shot her son; Michael Simpson, the first officer to arrive after Blackshire was shot; and the city of Little Rock.

The complaint alleges the federal civil-rights violations of excessive deadly force and failure to provide medical care, as well as violations of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act and state law -- including assault and battery, wrongful death, pain and suffering and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"This shooting has caused residents of the city of Little Rock to experience a grim case of deja vu. The Little Rock Police Department has a history of its officers shooting young men like Mr. Blackshire, including young black men sitting behind the wheels of cars that did not pose a threat to the shooting officers," the lawsuit states. "These officers are protected and emboldened by a culture of impunity within the department, a culture in which combative behavior and excessive force too often go unpunished, a culture of impunity that begot the unjustified death of Mr. Blackshire."

Bradley Blackshire was shot by Starks in a Feb. 22 encounter in a parking lot near the McDonald's restaurant at West 12th Street and South Rodney Parham Road.


Blackshire Family Lawsuit


Told that a license-plate reader had captured the license number of a reportedly stolen car, Starks found the car in the parking lot, with Blackshire, a 30-year-old father of five, behind the wheel. He ordered Blackshire to stop the vehicle and submit to arrest. Instead, Blackshire, a felon awaiting trial on drug charges, refused. He drove slowly forward, jolting Starks on the hip then knocking the officer off his feet when Starks moved in front of the car.

A woman passenger was unharmed, and police found a stolen pistol in the car. A police report indicates that the pickup of passing motorist Moises Solis, 39, of Little Rock, might have been hit by a stray bullet fired by Starks.

Starks was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by prosecutors but fired by Police Chief Keith Humphrey for violating department policy by putting himself in front of a moving vehicle. Starks is appealing the decision to the city's Civil Service Commission with a hearing scheduled for next month.

Blackshire-Lee, 52, of Little Rock, is requesting a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson to determine compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by attorney Omavi Shukur with the Chicago-based Loevy & Loevy law firm. Shukur is a former Little Rock lawyer and is a protege of civil-rights attorney and Arkansas legislator John Walker.

The suit describes eight occasions that Little Rock police have shot people in cars between 2005 and 2017, four of those instances killing someone. Police policy prohibits officers from firing into a moving vehicle unless the officer or someone else is in immediate danger, but the department "rarely, if ever, punishes officers for violating this policy," the lawsuit states.

The suit also faults a police procedure of "barricading" suspects who are in cars, describing the tactic as "almost guaranteed" to result in a police shooting.

"The city's failure to implement the obviously needed policy changes, disciplinary measures and supplemental training resulted in the unjustified and preventable killing of Mr. Blackshire," the lawsuit states.

The suit describes both Starks and Simpson as doing nothing to help the grievously wounded Blackshire while waiting too long -- five minutes, according to the lawsuit -- to get emergency medical attention for him. The ambulance did not arrive until 10 minutes after Starks' final shot, the complaint states.

Blackshire had borrowed the car about an hour before encountering Starks, did not know it had been reported stolen and was not aware that police were after him that day, according to the suit.

Metro on 06/11/2019

Print Headline: Mother sues ex-Little Rock officer, city over son's shooting death


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Archived Comments

  • PopMom
    June 11, 2019 at 7:27 a.m.

    Didn't the toxicology report show that Blackshire was high? I think that it is doubtful that this drug dealing felon did not know that the car was stolen. In any event, if he had listened to the cop and not tried to flee and run the cop over, he would still be alive. I hate these suits where misfit parents of misfit children try to sue the community for their own issues.

  • NoUserName
    June 11, 2019 at 7:29 a.m.

    "Shukur is a former Little Rock lawyer and is a protege of civil-rights attorney"
    And the guy, if I remember correctly, who was arrested for interferring with a LRPD traffic stop. Another winner.
    "The Little Rock Police Department has a history of its officers shooting young men like Mr. Blackshire"
    Career criminals in the act of committing a crime? Yeah, I expect they do. Perhaps LR should sue over the pain and suffering the Blackshire family has caused by their dealing meth (son, step-father). If the state can sue drug companies...
    The sooner this woman goes away the better. Hopefully with ZERO payout. You don't get paid for raising a career criminal who is killed in the act of committing a crime. Where were YOU the first 30 years of your boy's life, lady? Right...shoplifting.

  • Jfish
    June 11, 2019 at 7:59 a.m.

    This will be a softball for Starks' attorney, I hate it for Blackshire's family, but they need to face reality, he was either going to kill someone or be killed himself with his behavior.

  • MS6321
    June 11, 2019 at 8:15 a.m.

    Here comes the race war that has been brewing for some time. People no longer want to move to Little Rock or even visit due to so many dangerous thugs running rampant. Does anyone believe that our Mayor and Police Chief are neutral?

  • reality1963
    June 11, 2019 at 8:17 a.m.

    Damn, they have lived off govt funds their entire life. Now we pay more for the stupid, criminal activity of their son, just on legal fees to defend the police, who did society a favor? Today’s “everyone is a victim” society.

  • reality1963
    June 11, 2019 at 8:21 a.m.

    I do not think their will be a race war. The agitators and crap stirrers know when to stop. They are just trying to make h headlines and some cash!

  • GeneralMac
    June 11, 2019 at 8:48 a.m.

    Seems the condolance the mayor sent to Blackshire's mom didn't prevent a lawsuit.

    My hunch is it actually can/will be used by Blackshire's lawyer as admission of guilt.

  • GeneralMac
    June 11, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.

    The only negative from Blackshire being shot is 5 kids growing up indoctrinated to believe their father died a martyr .

  • Packman
    June 11, 2019 at 10:03 a.m.

    Well, this is a shock! I mean, who would have ever seen this coming from a family of money grubbing thugs.

  • JJoutlaw
    June 11, 2019 at 11:06 a.m.

    The statements in the lawsuit are laughable at best!