North Little Rock police released dashcam video showing a 17-year-old pull a gun and fire it during a traffic stop. Officers fired back, killing him.
By releasing the video, Police Chief Mike Davis said he hopes that will dispel “misinformation” that Charles Smith was unarmed during the confrontation.
“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 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?”
The driver and a front-seat passenger were both searched when the officer asked Smith about weapons, marijuana, and his Nike Air Force 1 shoes. “How do you like them?” the officer said, chit-chatting during a pat-down.
Twice he told Smith to not reach for something when 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 an (expletive) gun.”
In the video you can see 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.
“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.”
The officers involved did not have body cameras and their names 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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