LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A police officer who fatally shot a 15-year-old Arkansas boy was charged with felony manslaughter Friday after investigators determined his account of the incident didn’t match up with evidence at the scene, Little Rock police said.
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Officer Josh Hastings, who has a history of disciplinary issues with his department, shot Bobby Moore Jr. (pictured) while responding to a suspicious persons call at an apartment complex on Aug. 12. Hastings claimed the car Moore was driving was heading toward him, prompting him to fire through its windshield, but the police chief said evidence shows the car was either moving in reverse or stopped several feet away from Hastings when he fired.
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Moore died at the scene. Two other teenagers in the car fled on foot and weren’t injured.
“I have reviewed this matter and have concluded that the incident did not occur in the manner represented by the officer and that the use of deadly force did not conform to departmental orders,” Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said, adding that prosecutors agreed “the use of deadly force was not justified.”
The 26-year-old officer, who had been suspended six times in five years prior to the August shooting, was booked into jail Friday but later released on $15,000 bond. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Hastings’ attorney, Bill James of Little Rock, said the officer was justified.
“I’m confident that when the facts all come out he’ll be found innocent. I think he used reasonable force,” James said.