Chavis Carter alleged shot himself in the head while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, but video released by police has only added to the controversy and confusion surrounding the case.
Police in the case had originally released some footage of Carter’s arrest and the events that led up to it, but that footage came to an end before his alleged suicide. Under pressure from protesters and outside groups, police agreed to release more footage from the July 28 incident, the Guardian reported, but this still failed to show the whole picture.
“There’s still nothing in there about what actually happened with Chavis,” Benjamin Irwin, a lawyer representing Carter’s family, said Friday before a second batch of video was released.
Jonesboro police released the new footage to the Associated Press and other news outlets, which had filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act this week.
The second video showed the aftermath of the shooting, with an unforeseen man saying “He was breathing a second ago.” An ambulance then pulls up and another voice is heard saying, “I patted him down. I don’t know where he had it hidden.” Police claim that Carter was patted down twice with no gun being found.
More video exists — one taken on Chavis Carter’s own phone — but police said that video is part of an active investigation and can’t be released.
Police said the gap in the video occurred because of a camera system in patrol cars that is controlled by the emergency light bar and siren.
“After the light bar is turned off, the camera system ends its recording,” Sgt. Lyle Waterworth, spokesman for the Jonesboro police, said in a statement.
Carter was arrested in northeast Arkansas while he was driving a white pickup truck after someone called police to report a suspicious vehicle. The video released doesn’t appear to show him with a gun, the Associated Press reported.
Police led carter away to the patrol car and out of frame of the video. Police came back to question the car’s other occupant about marijuana they found on Carter, handcuffing them. They are later allowed to leave but police kept Carter, who had an arrest warrant in Mississippi for a drug-related case.
As the truck drove away, the footage came to an end as a police officer says, “See ya later.”
Sometime after the gap in the tape, Chavis Carter was alleged to have shot himself in the head. Police said they are still waiting on an autopsy report along with forensics and toxicology reports from the state crime lab.
The FBI said it is monitoring the Chavis Carter case.