Police Abuse

Arkansas Cop Who Fatally Shot Teen Wants Job Back After Prosecutors Decline to Try Him for Third Time

|

badge works even after it's gone?
Little Rock PD

Prosecutors in Pulaski County, Arkansas, won't try Josh Hastings a third time for the fatal shooting of Bobby Moore, Jr. in 2012. The former Little Rock police officer's previous two trials ended with hung juries. The first time the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting Hastings on charges of manslaughter. David Koons of the Arkansas Times spoke to one of the jurors from the first trial:

The marquee quote from the juror on the two female holdouts who refused to convict: "They were biased. I really feel like they were, because they couldn't get past the badge."

In part, said the juror, the two holdouts favored acquittal because Hastings in the fatal shooting was "preventing future crimes."

The same judge, Wendell Griffen, presided over both trials. The judge expressed concern about bias in the first jury selection, which yielded an all-white panel. Defense attorneys argued the judge should recuse himself from the re-trial because of his own antipathy toward police. Griffen denied it, taking charge of questioning during jury selection for the second trial. That trial also ended with a deadlocked jury, this time 11-1 in favor of acquittal.

After being told in court by prosecutors about the decision not to re-try Hastings, Griffen noted that it was "not an acquittal." Nevertheless, Hastings was given his government-issued badge and gun back. Via the Arkansas Times:

Hastings' attorney Bill James said Hastings will seek a civil service hearing to get his job with the Little Rock Police Department back. "He did what he had to do," James said of Hastings shooting Moore. 

"There are no winners here," James said outside the courthouse, "a family lost their son, his buddies lost their friend, Mr. Hastings lost the better part of two years of his life dealing with this." James said that Hastings and his family are happy that they can move on with their lives, adding that he can't imagine that new evidence would be brought forward that would lead to the case being reopened.

Hastings was initially charged with manslaughter after internal investigators at the Little Rock Police Department determined that the officer's account of the speed and direction of the stolen car he claimed the 15-year-old Moore was trying to drive at him didn't match the evidence. 

NEXT: This Is Why It's So Hard To Cut Medicare

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Not enough evidence to send him to prison /= reason to let him get his law enforcement job back.

    1. Thank you. I tried to post this but the squirrels rejected it.

      1. Yeah, I really had to work to get my comments posted.

    2. The standard of proof the government has to meet to put a person in a cage isn’t the same as the standard of proof to show you’re qualified to put other people in cages.

    3. Fucking comment squirrels. Let’s try again.

      Let’s say you need 95% certainty of guilt to convict someone of a crime. Do you want the cop who most likely, but only with 90% certainty, murdered someone, on the job?

      1. I don’t want a cop on the job where there’s 10% certainty that he has committed a crime that resulted in the death of a “civilian” and then acted to fabricate evidence in the case.

        1. Agreed. The burden of proof should be the other way round. I want 95% certainty (there’s no 100% in the real world) that they are clean and honest and aren’t going to murder anyone.

  2. Thank the union. ALEU Local 800 makes sure that a lack of a conviction = exoneration from wrongdoing.

    The guy should be removed from office for fabricating evidence alone.

    1. Hey, hey, hey. Its not like he fabricated evidence against another of the King’s Men!

      1. Its not like he fabricated evidence against another of the King’s Men!

        That would be bad.

        Fabricating evidence for another of the King’s Men though, that’s standard procedure.

        Oh, and whoever maintains this commenting software needs to back off the sherry enemas.

      2. I long for the day when “turf wars” between armed agencies look more like those on the South Side of Chicago and less like an armed invasion of a small country by competing armies.

        1. Maybe firefighters should be armed. They seem to have a good rivalry with cops going.

          1. No way. Reasonably decent people seek out the job of firefighter. Give them guns and the same assholes who seek out to be cops will seek out firefighting.

            1. That’s about what I thought after posting, but squirrels prevented me from further commenting.

          2. Until they have arrest powers over cops, they’ll still be in a David vs Goliath situation.

            Hey, that might be a good idea. Let’s give firemen arrest and prosecutorial power, but only against cops.

        2. A very interesting, if unlikely, outcome of some conflicts between federal and state law (for example drug legalization) and jurisdiction would be state police and feds shooting it out.
          Probably not great for anyone, but an interesting fantasy. What if a state made a law that no feds could enforce criminal law that is properly withing the states’ powers in the state? Federal courts woudl invalidate the law, but state courts might not.

  3. In part, said the juror, the two holdouts favored acquittal because Hastings in the fatal shooting was “preventing future crimes.”

    This, ultimately, is the biggest impediment to meaningfully reforming and preventing police abuse.

    Shitheads like those two juror are even more contemptible than the cops themselves.

    1. I wonder how many of his uniformed brethren were in the courtroom for the trial staring down the juries in either trial.

      I’m all for the 1A, but government agents should not be allowed to show up in uniform in a show of solidarity/intimidation in criminal trials involving police officers. It perverts the trial and serves as an impediment to impartiality.

      1. The thing that really amazes me is how many people still have any respect for police. Isn’t it common knowledge that cops show up in court to intimidate people and routinely lie in court and in reports? This is not new or surprising or particularly controversial stuff.

        1. The thing that really amazes me is how many people still have any respect for police.

          Show me someone who respects the police, and I’ll show you someone who has never been the victim of a crime.

          A high level of respect for the police is an indicator of a low rate of crime.

          They don’t know any better.

          1. I’ve never been the victim of a crime, beyond maybe some petty theft and I know about it.
            But I think you are probably right. People want to assume that things are OK.

        2. Isn’t it common knowledge that cops show up in court to intimidate people and routinely lie in court and in reports?

          Speaking of lying in reports, I give you exhibit A…

          http://www.chicagomag.com/Chic…..ime-rates/

      2. How about saying to cops, “if you’re in your work uniform, you better be doing some work, and hanging around the courthouse doesn’t count as work unless you’re testifying.”

      3. That’s not even a First Amendment issue since the judge can pretty much do whatever he/she wants in setting rules for their courtroom.

        The cops that show up to intimidate witnesses and jurors are just taking advantage of a professional courtesy where most judges wouldn’t ask them to leave.

        1. Every municipality ought to make that a part of their next CBA: If you are not on duty acting in an official capacity, as determined by the duty roster, you are not to be in uniform.

          It would have the added benefit of stopping cops from doing private security while giving the impression that the state is sanctioning an event/securing it.

          1. ANd if they wear their badge when not on duty, arrest them for impersonating an officer.

            1. Correct. Or if they flash their badge at a traffic stop, arrest both officers involved for obstruction of justice. That would be easy enough to track when they run the license plate prior to the interaction.

            2. ANd if they wear their badge when not on duty, arrest them for impersonating an officer.

              They’re always on duty, even if they’re not. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.

              1. Which is exactly the problem.

                1. Which is exactly the problem.

                  Were feudal knights ever off duty? No. Insult one and they might kill you. And nothing else would happen.

                  We live in a feudal society. Only the costumes have changed.

        2. That and the judge knows that if he kicks the cops out of the courtroom, the next time he gets pulled over while driving drunk in women’s underwear, he’s not going to get the usual escort home.

  4. OT: What’s worse than Florida Man?

    Naked Florida Woman.

    NSFW.

  5. “There are no winners here,” James said outside the courthouse…

    Seems like Hastings is winning so far. Justice and everyone else, of course, not so much.

  6. Figured out how to outsmart the squirrels.

    Type something random into the comments box at the bottom. Not a reply to a post. Click preview. If you get a blank preview, refresh. If the text is still there in the comments box, refresh again. Don’t bother to try preview. It won’t work. Repeat until the text box refreshes empty. At that point type something in and try the preview again. It should work. Now go make your comment/reply and submit. It may take a minute or two to post, but it will post.

    1. So basically it’s as user-friendly as Windows 8?

      1. It’s as cooperative as a sober sorority girl.

    2. I usually clear out the comment box myself, although I copy the comment first.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.