Police Release Video Of Officer Fatally Shooting Driver Through Windshield
The Little Rock Police Department released footage of a fatal police shooting on March 7, corresponding with the Feb. 22 confrontation that some are calling excessive force.
Officer Charles Starks can be seen acting on a report of a stolen car in the video, in which he lays out on the hood and fires 15 times through the vehicle’s windshield, killing the driver.
Starks demands that the driver of the stolen automobile, 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire, exit his car at gunpoint. The officer repeats himself several times as Blackshire asks,“What did I do?” and “What are you going to shoot me for?”
The video shows the driver start to inch forward into Starks, at which point the officer lays out on the hood and begins firing into the car 36 seconds after the exchange began. As Blackshire moves the car through a parking lot, another officer, Michael Simpson, drives his police car forward and slams into the stolen vehicle.
After the car stops, Starks begins yelling at a female passenger to get on the ground. The woman, later confirmed to be 20-year-old Desaray Clarke, informs the officers that the driver had just picked her up and that he has a gun.
The policemen ultimately called for backup and an ambulance, but Blackshire was pronounced dead at the scene. Starks sustained an undisclosed injury to his right leg and was released from the hospital later the same day. Simpson and Clarke were not injured.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott delivered a media address to announce the release of a 25-minute narrated and unedited “critical incident video,” which was compiled by city administrators from several camera angles to execute clarity in the wake of the episode.
“Any time there is a loss, it is always a tragedy,” he said. “We will always be accountable, we will always be prepared, we will always be transparent.”
The department relieved Starks of duty in the days following the shooting, prompting him to turn in his gun and badge, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He has been reprimanded 10 times since 2015, and has accumulated nearly a month of suspension time.
He is now suspended indefinitely once again, pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by city prosecutors into whether the shooting constituted excessive force.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police said that Starks deserves “due process,” and asked the community to “reserve judgement until the investigation concludes,” according to Fox News. The organization issued a statement after the shooting, saying that it could have been avoided if Blackshire had not refused to comply with Stark’s orders.
Blackshire’s family, who had been shown the video of the confrontation before it was released to the public, released a statement through an attorney condemning the officer’s actions.
“The video confirms our assessment that Charles Starks employed an unreasonable and excessive amount of force,” it said.