LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police video recorded the night a young man was fatally shot in a northeast Arkansas patrol car while his hands were cuffed behind his back hasn't resolved questions about whether he shot himself in the head as officers said.
Jonesboro police released footage to The Associated Press and other news organizations under a Freedom of Information Act request this week. They released more footage Friday amid questions about why the first batch of video appeared to end before the officers found Chavis Carter, 21, slumped over and bleeding in the back of a patrol car on July 28 as described in a police report. Police have said officers had frisked Carter twice without finding a gun.
The second batch of video occurred after Carter was discovered, police said.
"There's still nothing in there about what actually happened with Chavis," Benjamin Irwin, a Memphis-based lawyer representing Carter's family, said Friday before the second batch of video had been released.
The internal police investigation into the shooting has not yet been completed. The FBI has said it is also monitoring the case.
Sgt. Lyle Waterworth, spokesman for the Jonesboro police, said Friday morning that he hadn't yet seen the video his department released the night before. Hours later, amid questions about the dashboard camera video, he agreed to release more footage that he said occurred after Carter was discovered.
No other dashboard camera video exists, he said, but additional video was retrieved during a forensic exam of Carter's phone. He said that remains part of the active investigation and wouldn't be released yet.
To explain stops in the video, he said the camera system in both patrol cars is controlled automatically with an emergency light bar and siren system.
"After the light bar is turned off the camera system ends its recording," Waterworth said in a statement. He didn't respond to email and phone messages seeking further comment.
The second batch of video begins as what looks like light from a police car flickers on a stretch of road. A dog barks and a white SUV turns around a little ways down the street.
An unseen man curses shortly after he says, "He was breathing a second ago." An ambulance pulls up and someone, perhaps the same man, says, "I patted him down. I don't know where he had it hidden."
Later, someone instructs the others to leave everything as it is.
The video goes on to show an officer cordoning off the area with police tape. Two people can be seen looking on, but they leave after interacting briefly with an officer.
Carter is not shown in that video.
The first batch of video begins when an officer pulls up to a white pickup truck on a dark street in Jonesboro, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock. He talks to the driver, Carter and another passenger. Police say the officer stopped the truck after someone reported a suspicious vehicle driving up and down the road.
Another officer arrives and searches Carter, who police say initially gave a different name. The officer doesn't appear to find a gun as he pats Carter down, though something else falls to the ground as the officer shines a flashlight toward Carter.
The officer leads Carter, who is not yet handcuffed, toward the patrol cars and then out of the frame. A police report said Carter was placed in the second patrol car without handcuffs, though the video doesn't show that.
Meanwhile, the other officer searches the driver and remaining passenger, who then stand in front of the first patrol car. The officer who searched Carter asked them where the rest of the marijuana was because he found some on Carter. Continued...