The Vice news website has dug into the fatal shooting of Hunter Brittain, 17, by Lonoke County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Davis during an early morning traffic stop last Wednesday.
The account includes the family’s version of events and an account from the teen who was riding with Brittain when he was stopped.
The shooting is under investigation by the State Police. Davis is on suspension. Sheriff John Staley has urged people not to jump to conclusions until the investigation is complete. The family has led “Justice for Hunter” demonstrations at the sheriff’s office.
By accounts from the family and his companion, Jordan King, Brittain was test-driving his pickup after working on the transmission when he was stopped by the deputy on a state highway near Cabot about 3 a.m. By their account, the truck began rolling backward because of a problem with the transmission linkage. They said he grabbed a jug of antifreeze to put behind the truck’s back tire to keep it from rolling into the deputy’s patrol car and he was shot as he walked toward the back of the truck. King, 16, said Davis said nothing before shooting Brittain. King said he was handcuffed for several hours before being released.
Body-cam video has been given to the State Police, but others haven’t seen it. Sheriff Staley was quoted in the article:
“In potentially dangerous situations, deputies are often forced to make split-second decisions,” Staley said. “Second-guessing those decisions, especially when the facts are still unclear, is dangerous and unfair.”
But Staley also pledged to hold any deputy who broke the law or his office’s policies accountable. Davis is currently on administrative leave.
“We all want the truth. We all want justice. But I humbly ask everyone to avoid rushing to judgment until the investigation is over,” Staley said. “Sadly, on social media, some people are demanding I take action without waiting for evidence. That’s irresponsible, and I won’t do it.”