Federal Judge Leon Holmes today dismissed the city of Little Rock and former Police Chief Kenton Buckner from a lawsuit over the use of deadly force by Officer Dennis
Roy Richards, 47, was killed in October 2016 at a home on East Eighth Street. His sister, Vanessa Cole, sued on behalf of his estate. Police had been called by Richards’ uncle and when they arrived found Richards and his uncle, Derrell Underwood, fighting. Accounts at the time said Hutchins fired on Richards because he was chasing Underwood with a long gun. It was a BB gun. The lawsuit disputes the account, saying Underwood was inside the house when Richards was shot.
Judge Holmes said there was a clear dispute of facts for a jury to consider as to Hutchins and whether he’d acted reasonably to prevent harm to himself or others.
But the judge did grant a request for summary judgment to dismiss the case against the city and chief. He rejected the argument that the city has a policy of unconstitutional conduct and biased investigations of police use of force. One case in which misconduct was found — the shooting of car burglary suspect Bobby Moore — does not constitute a pattern, he said. And he said Cole had not demonstrated “deliberate indifference” by the city.