The girlfriend of 21-year-old Chavis Carter said he called her from the back of the police car and said he had a gun on him, Jonesboro police said Wednesday. He also told her he loved her and that he was scared. The girlfriend has not been identified.
The Jonesboro police released a four-page statement about the investigation into Carter’s death, which was ruled a suicide in an autopsy report released Monday. The police department has been under fire since the July 28 death. The department said officers searched Carter twice and failed to find the gun. According to the statement, “It is presumed that Carter secreted the gun in the rear of the car after the pat-down but before the cuffing and second search.”
Witness testimony supports the evidence, and medical examiner’s conclusion that Carter committed suicide.
Arkansas’ crime lab said it did not perform a gunshot residue test since it doesn’t do that type of analysis on suicide or homicide victims. Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates confirmed that the department had requested the testing, but the agency’s policy prevented it from being run.
Police found marijuana on Carter, and the autopsy report said he tested positive for meth and other drugs. However, the investigation into his death isn’t complete.
Police also say they found a man from a video on Carter’s phone who said he sent a text asking Carter to bring him a gun right before he was stopped by the officers. The man also said Carter was involved in a drug deal involving four ounces of marijuana.
Chavis Carter’s family contends that he didn’t kill himself. When police released the video of the young man’s death with footage missing, claiming there was a problem with the video and audio, the family’s attorney Benjamin Irwin said:
“These things are crystal clear from a reception standpoint and from a functioning standpoint. And then they just malfunction for three minutes when this young man lost his life? I am just not ready to accept that as the answer.”