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Video: Ark. police fatally shoot teen who fired at officers

Police Chief Mike Davis said he hopes that the video will dispel "misinformation" that Charles Smith was unarmed


By Kelly P. Kissel
Associated Press

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — North Little Rock police released dashcam video Wednesday that shows a 17-year-old pull a gun and fire it during a traffic stop before officers fired back, killing him.

Police Chief Mike Davis said he hopes that releasing the video will dispel "misinformation" that Charles Smith was unarmed during the confrontation early Sunday.

This Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, frame grab from a police cam video provided by the North Little Rock Police Department shows a confrontation between police and Charles Smith, foreground, in North Little Rock, Ark. (North Little Rock Police via AP)
This Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, frame grab from a police cam video provided by the North Little Rock Police Department shows a confrontation between police and Charles Smith, foreground, in North Little Rock, Ark. (North Little Rock Police via AP)

"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.

Smith was a rear-seat passenger in a car pulled over for speeding and a headlight violation. The five-minute video shows a patrolman tell the driver to step out of the car, asking, "You ain't got anything crazy on you, do you?" and "Why were you driving so dang-gummed fast, man?"

After searching the driver and a front-seat passenger, the officer searched Smith and asked about weapons, marijuana and his Nike Air Force 1 shoes. "How do you like them?" the officer said, chit-chatting during a pat-down.

After twice telling Smith to not reach for something, the two suddenly wrestled to the ground.

"I can't go to jail," Smith cried out. An officer's attempt to use a Taser failed.

"Get your (expletive) hand out," an officer told Smith, whose hands were out of the camera's view. Then the officer yelled, "It's a (expletive) gun."

The video shows Smith pointing a handgun at officers, cocking it while his right hand is pinned against a curb, firing it, and then cocking it again. The officers then opened fire, killing Smith.

A lawyer for Smith's family, Willard Proctor Jr., said police showed the video to the teenager's relatives earlier Wednesday.

"We're not at a point where we can make any conclusions," Proctor said. He said that once a complete set of video footage is released, there could be an opportunity to look into "what, if anything, could have been done differently."

Davis said the officers involved did not have body cameras. He said the names of the officers involved could be released after a plan is in place to protect them, since the agency has received threats.

"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."

 

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