Letter: Ex-Little Rock police chief justified in firing gun

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A former Little Rock police chief who fired his gun at an armed suspect on New Year’s Eve won’t face charges in the shooting.

Prosecutor Larry Jegley said in a letter to Arkansas State Police dated Friday that Keith Humphrey was justified in the use of force in the shooting outside a convenience store. A state police spokesman said the letter formally closes the agency’s investigation into the shooting.

Humphrey had stopped after seeing a fight among a crowd in the parking lot and was approaching the group when a 29-year-old woman shot and critically wounded a 22-year-old woman, state police said.

Humphrey then opened fire, but did not strike the 29-year-old, who was later arrested, state police said. The woman has pleaded not guilty to first-degree battery.

Humphrey had been briefly placed on administrative leave after the shooting.

“There was never any doubt that Chief Humphrey’s use of force while patrolling with his officers on New Year’s Eve was the prudent course and well within the law and the department’s use of force policy,” Mike Laux, an attorney for Humphrey, said in a statement Monday.

Humphrey, who was hired as chief in April 2019, retired in May after a rocky tenure marked by clashes with the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police and lawsuits over promotions, disciplinary cases and other issues. A national search is being conducted for his replacement.

Humphrey had previously served as police chief in Norman, Oklahoma, and Lancaster, Texas.

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