North Little Rock, Arkansas saw a violent shootout the other day. During a routine traffic stop, a 17-year-old pulled a firearm on the police forcing them to return fire on him. Although the police shooting occurred on Sunday, the police department did not want the public making incorrect judgments about this situation. To help show exactly what happened, they released the dashboard camera footage to the public. And in the clip, it is clear that the teen pulled his gun on the cops and opened fire on them before they did anything of the sort to him.
Police Chief Mike Davis hoped that releasing the video to the public would dissolve any “misinformation” that could be floating around on the internet or in the North Little Rock community. While rumors were floating around that 17-year-old Charles Smith was unarmed, Chief Davis shared the footage with the public on Wednesday to quash any further tales of the sort.
“Since the incident, a great deal of erroneous information has appeared on social media outlets. … I want to make sure we clear that up today,” Davis said.
When the car was pulled over for speeding and a headlight violation, police approached the car. Smith was seated in the rear as a passenger.
The dashboard camera footage is five minutes long. And you can see the police officer telling the driver to step out of the car. And then he asked the driver, “You ain’t got anything crazy on you, do you?”
After that, the officer asked, “Why were you driving so dang-gummed fast, man?”
While some people could argue that these were provocative ways to say what he needed to say, the officer proceeded about his business.
He searched the driver and front-seat passenger. Then the officer searches Smith. He asks if he is carrying weapons or drugs, then he asks him about his Nike Air Force 1 shoes.
“How do you like them?” the officer said trying to build rapport.
The officer told Smith not to reach for something twice. And suddenly they’re on the ground in a life-or-death wrestling match.
Smith cried, “I can’t go to jail.”
The officer tried to Taser him, but it did not work.
“Get your (expletive) hand out,” an officer ordered Smith, whose hands were out of the camera’s view. Then the cop shouts, “It’s a (expletive) gun.”
Smith points the gun at the cops and fires it. The officers open fire on the teen, killing him.
Smith’s family lawyer, Willard Proctor Jr., said police showed the family the video on Wednesday.
“We’re not at a point where we can make any conclusions,” Proctor said.
Proctor asked for a complete set of video footage. And he hopes to see “what, if anything, could have been done differently.”
Davis’s officers did not have body cameras. And their names have not been released because the cops put a plan in place to protect them.
“Misinformation gets out that says … the subject wasn’t armed, the subject didn’t shoot,” Davis said. “He was armed and we, in fact, had to take action because of that. I want people to see what happened.”