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Family of Arkansas man shot by police files lawsuit

By HANNAH GRABENSTEINJune 10, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The family of a motorist who was fatally shot by a Little Rock police officer in February filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the city and the officers involved in the shooting.

In the lawsuit, Bradley Blackshire’s mother, Kimberly Blackshire-Lee, alleges former Officer Charles Starks and Officer Michael Simpson used excessive deadly force, failed to provide medical care and violated Arkansas’ Civil Rights Act.

Starks fired at least 15 times through the windshield of Blackshire’s car as it rolled forward. Blackshire was pronounced dead at the scene.

The suit claims Starks “did not feel threatened” as the car Blackshire was driving rolled slowly toward the officer, and claims the city failed to train its officers on how and when to use force at a traffic stop.

As such, the city encourages police, “to wantonly escalate uses of force, injuring and killing people like Mr. Blackshire in the process,” the lawsuit claims.

The family also alleges Simpson, who arrived after Starks and rammed his police SUV into Blackshire’s car as Starks fired through the windshield, failed to administer medical aid to Blackshire. Instead he held Blackshire at gunpoint, which was “objectively unreasonable and intentionally undertaken with willful indifference to Mr. Blackshire’s constitutional rights.”

A lawyer for Starks could not be reached for comment. It is unclear if Simpson has a lawyer.

In April, Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley declined to file charges against Starks; a month later, the police department fired him .

Police spokesman Michael Ford declined to comment, while spokespeople for Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott and the city did not respond to a request for comment.

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