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story.lead_photo.caption In a series of screen shots from a Little Rock police dashboard-camera video of an officer-involved shooting on Feb. 22, officer Charles Starks fires into the car driven by Bradley Blackshire as the car begins moving, then steps into its path and finally sprawls onto the hood as it continues forward. Blackshire was killed in the shooting.

Video released Thursday from a Feb. 22 police shooting that left a Little Rock man dead shows the first responding officer firing his weapon at least 15 times, including 12 times after he stepped in front of the car the victim is driving.

Thirteen days after officer Charles Starks made a traffic stop involving a stolen vehicle, the Little Rock Police Department released audio and video footage of the shooting that killed 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire.

"I understand this video is difficult to watch," Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said at a news conference Thursday before the video's release. "I want to repeat: It will be difficult to watch. I also understand this video will evoke numerous amounts of emotions."

Scott said the department delivered the investigative file on the shooting to the prosecuting attorney's office Thursday. Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley confirmed Thursday that his office received the file immediately before the 3 p.m. news conference.

Before releasing the video, Scott allowed Blackshire's family to view it and provided copies of it to attorneys for Starks and Blackshire's family. Omavi Shukur, an attorney representing Blackshire's family, said the video confirmed his office's "assessment that the officer used an unreasonable amount of force when he fired into a slowly moving vehicle."

Scott said FBI officials informed Little Rock police a "few" days after the shooting that they intended to review the investigation "from a civil-rights perspective." Scott said he had no further information about the scope or purpose of the FBI's review.

Scott also said the shooting has spurred his office and the Police Department to purchase body-worn cameras for officers, which the department has not done in the past because of lack of funds.

"This is clearly more than enough reason," he said, adding that officials are "going to scrape every dollar in our city to make sure we can get body cameras as we move forward."

Scott said the critical-incident video released by the department Thursday is the first of its kind in the state. The video has narration from interim Chief Wayne Bewley, and includes radio dispatch audio, traffic camera footage, three surveillance camera videos and two dashboard-camera videos.

Scott's spokesman, Stephanie Jackson, said Thursday that the videos were compiled into one file and none of the clips was edited.

The video was posted online less than an hour after the afternoon news conference.

In the footage, Starks pulls his car up in front of the stolen Nissan Altima six seconds after the Altima parks in a lot near 7305 Kanis Road, not far from the Rodney Parham Road intersection.

Starks' patrol unit stops in front of the car, blocking Blackshire's path.

Starks gets out of his patrol car with his gun raised and begins yelling, "Hands! Hands!"

"Send me some units," Starks says into his radio. "I've got him at gunpoint."

In the dashboard-camera footage, Starks and Blackshire are off camera, but their voices are caught on the audio.

"Roll the window down," Starks says. "Roll the window down."

Blackshire says something, but his words are inaudible.

"All right get out," Starks orders. "Get out."

"What did I do?" Blackshire asks.

"Get out," Starks says. "I'll tell you in a second."

Starks then orders Blackshire multiple times to get out of the car.

"What are you going to shoot me for?" Blackshire asks. "I ain't got nothing."

Starks repeats the commands, and then Blackshire says, "No."

Those are the last recorded words from Blackshire.

Starks, who is standing close to the driver's side of the Altima, speaks into his radio, saying Blackshire refuses to get out of the vehicle and then repeats four times his command to get out of the car.

The Altima begins to move forward, turning sharply to the left to go around the police vehicle blocking its path, according to footage from a nearby business.

Starks is standing close to the Altima as it turns, but the camera angle precludes the viewer from seeing the distance between the officer and the car's side panel.

It appears in the dashboard-camera video that the side of the Altima bumps Starks near his hip. Then, about 36 seconds after Starks stepped out of his patrol unit, he puts both hands on his department-issued firearm and shoots three times.

The car slows, Starks moves in front of it and then, as the Altima rolls forward, Starks fires about a dozen more shots, according to the video. Fifteen shots can be heard in the video footage.

In the video, Desaray Clarke, a passenger in Blackshire's car, throws her hands into the air as the bullets enter through the windshield. Moments later, a patrol car driven by officer Michael Simpson knocks into the moving Altima.

"Shots fired," Starks says into his radio as he lies on the hood of the moving Altima and pulls the trigger. "Shots fired."

When the car finally stops in a ditch behind the parking lot, Clarke climbs out through the shattered passenger window and raises her hands.

"He has a gun," Clarke says quickly.

photo
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. (from left), interim Police Chief Wayne Bewley, City Attorney Tom Carpenter and Chief Deputy City Attorney Alex Betton discuss the police video and audio from a Feb. 22 officer-involved shooting. “I understand this video is difficult to watch,” Scott said. “I want to repeat: It will be difficult to watch. I also understand this video will evoke numerous amounts of emotions.”

Starks immediately repeats that information to Simpson, who is telling Blackshire to raise his left hand, which Simpson says is not visible to him.

"He hit my knee," Starks says moments later as more police units arrive. "God, my knee. Driver's seat. I shot. God, I shot. He hit me. I shot. I shot multiple times. I'm OK. I think it's just sprained or something."

Blackshire died at the scene, according to previous reports.

According to procedure, the department placed Starks on administrative leave on Feb. 22. Four days later, the department confirmed that Starks had been relieved of duty, and had surrendered his gun and badge.

Officers placed on administrative leave can continue to work in some capacities at the department. Officers who are relieved of duty cannot.

On Monday, Blackshire's family requested that the Arkansas State Police investigate the shooting. Scott said Thursday that the Police Department reached out to the state police, but the agency declined to investigate because it was called so long after the incident.

Bill Sadler, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police, said his office declines to investigate use-of-force incidents on principle when the agency is not immediately called in. Taking on such a case would mean that investigators would have no access to the original shooting scene and the sources would have already been interviewed.

"We just weren't there at ground zero, and that's what you need to have an accurate investigation," Sadler said.

Sadler said the Little Rock department called and requested the investigation between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday.

Shukur said he did not want to comment on the Blackshire family's reaction to the video, but there was "nothing to indicate Mr. Blackshire knew why he was being approached by Starks in that manner."

Shukur said the next step for his office will be to wait for the prosecuting attorney to decide if filing criminal charges is appropriate in the case.

Ronnie Morgan, president of the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, said he and the union's executive board watched the video before it was released on social media. In a news release last week, Morgan expressed support for Starks and his family. Morgan said Thursday that his position has not changed.

"We still feel the same way," Morgan said. "We support officer Starks."

The national Fraternal Order of Police offers insurance that provides legal assistance if an officer is involved in an incident while working in his official capacity, and Morgan said Starks, who is a Fraternal Order of Police member, has filed a claim with that agency.

The spokesman and president of the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association did not return requests for comment Thursday evening.

Dawn Jeffrey is the director of community relations for Seeds of Liberation, a Little Rock community organization that helps people recently released from prison re-acclimate to society. The organization also takes on civil-rights projects and works with marginalized communities in Little Rock.

Jeffrey attended the news conference Thursday and said Blackshire's shooting is one of her organization's top priorities at the moment.

"If somebody comes to the car and puts a gun in your face, you want to ask, 'Do you have probable cause?'" Jeffrey said, saying Blackshire asked Starks multiple times why he was being stopped. "I don't understand how people are trying to make this make sense."

Photo by Little Rock Police Department video
In a series of screen shots from a Little Rock police dashboard-camera video of an officer-involved shooting on Feb. 22, officer Charles Starks fires into the car driven by Bradley Blackshire as the car begins moving, then steps into its path and finally sprawls onto the hood as it continues forward. Blackshire was killed in the shooting.
Photo by Little Rock Police Department video
In a series of screen shots from a Little Rock police dashboard-camera video of an officer-involved shooting on Feb. 22, officer Charles Starks fires into the car driven by Bradley Blackshire as the car begins moving, then steps into its path and finally sprawls onto the hood as it continues forward. Blackshire was killed in the shooting.

Metro on 03/08/2019

Print Headline: In video of fatal shooting, Little Rock officer heard ordering driver out of car

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