Late last week, the attorney for the plaintiff in the lawsuit over former Police Officer Josh Hastings’ killing of a car burglary suspect asked for a rehearing of Judge Brian Miller’s finding that the city and a former police chief could not be liable in the case.
The case on behalf of the mother of Bobby Moore, killed in 2012, continues against Hastings, whose two trials for manslaughter in the case ended in hung juries.
The judge dismissed the city in an order Jan. 27.
Friday, attorney Mike Laux filed an extensive pleading asking the judge to reconsider. His points include that he’d established an extensive record of Little Rock police conduct in deadly force cases and also that the police had failed to adequately investigate all the circumstances in the Moore shooting. Laux says additional evidence he’s discovered, including witnesses and blood not tested, would have been sufficient to convict Hastings.
Most intersting to me is Laux’s assertion that Miller decided the case on a non-existent court precedent. Judge Miller said in his dismissal of city officials, “Investigation of a complaint is sufficient as a matter of law to defeat a claim of deliberate indifference to prior misconduct.” That sentence does not appear, however, in the 8th Circuit decision in a Little Rock case that Miller cited. It’s apparently words issued by another federal district judge in the case, but Laux says it pertained to the specific circumstances of a particular police case, not as a general matter.
Miller said, however, that Laux hadn’t demonstrated that police were aware or indifferent to past police conduct and thus couldn’t be liable for Hastings.