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story.lead_photo.caption Charles Starks confers with his attorney, Robert Newcomb, during a hearing in September on his firing from the Little Rock Police Department. Starks, who was reinstated after a lawsuit, is being deliberately stigmatized by Mayor Frank Scott and Police Chief Keith Humphrey, his legal team said Friday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

Little Rock police officer Charles Starks got his gun and badge back Tuesday after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox told city leaders they were violating his order to reinstate Starks.

Starks' attorney, Robert Newcomb, confirmed by phone Tuesday afternoon that Starks had passed his marksman test and that his badge and gun had been returned.

If Starks hadn't gotten his gun and badge back, Fox would have taken the police chief’s gun and badge and imposed a daily $10,000 fine, the judge said.

Fox found the city to be in contempt of court on a motion by Starks. The judge ruled that by placing Starks on "relieved of duty" status and denying him his service weapon and badge, the city had violated the court order to reinstate Starks.

Fox said the city must return Starks to the status he had before his fatal encounter with a suspected car thief that led to Starks' May firing. The city does not have to put him back to work as long as he's paid and faces no further penalties, the judge said.

Any undue delay will result in a $10,000 daily fine that must be delivered to the court by whomever decided to continue withholding Starks' gun and badge, Fox said. Further, if that happens, Chief of Police Keith Humphrey must turn over his gun and badge to the court until the city complies with his rulings, the judge said.

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


A Pulaski County circuit judge on Tuesday found the City of Little Rock in contempt of court for denying reinstated officer Charles Starks his gun and badge.

Judge Tim Fox made the ruling after Starks’ lawyers filed a motion Friday calling for the court to hold Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and Police Chief Keith Humphrey in contempt. He did not fine the city.

Starks' lawyers said in the motion that the former officer is being deliberately stigmatized by the mayor and the police chief in a move that not only violates the court order overturning Starks' firing but also financially penalizes Starks by preventing him from taking off-duty law enforcement work, which can add as much as $20,000 annually to his income.

Starks was fired by Humphrey for violating police procedure by stepping in front of a moving car when he shot and killed a suspected car thief nearly 10 months ago. Starks shot Bradley Blackshire, 30, after the car Blackshire was driving clipped Starks during a February confrontation in Little Rock.

Starks appealed his firing to court and Fox reinstated him, reducing the punishment to a 30-day unpaid suspension and cutting Starks' wages to rookie pay. Entry-level patrol officers earn $43,743 a year, according to the city website. Starks has been on the force about six years.

The city is appealing Fox's ruling to the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

This story was originally published at 10:46 a.m.


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