Teen Hunter Brittain shot dead by Arkansas cop

A sheriff’s deputy gunned down a teenager in County of Lonoke, Arkansas, during a traffic stop Wednesday June 23. Sergeant Michael Davis arrested Hunter Brittain, 17, along Arkansas Highway 89 at 3 a.m. for unknown reasons.

The teenager and his passenger were taking a test drive as traffic stopped, after Brittain attempted to repair his pickup truck’s transmission, according to a report by Vice News.

Brittany’s family mentionned that his truck – a GMC Sierra – had a broken shifter linkage when the assistant stopped it, causing the truck to back up.

During the traffic stop, Brittain got out of his truck to place a jug of antifreeze behind the rear tire to prevent it from rolling in the assistant’s car. The deputy then shot the teenager as he put the jug down, according to the passenger and the witness King of Jordan.

King Told local news that the MP did not warn or say anything to Brittain before shooting him. King too mentionned that Brittain was taken to hospital, while another MP arrived at the scene and handcuffed King, even though he had not been charged with a felony. King spent hours handcuffed in the MP’s vehicle.

Brittain died in hospital where he was taken to be treated for the gunshot. The teenager’s family is still waiting for information about the stop, and it’s possible that the incident was recorded, but it is not certain, for Vice News:

Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley said in a video statement posted on his office Facebook page last week that “like everyone else, I want to know exactly what happened.” He added that Arkansas State Police would investigate and that his office had provided the agency with body camera footage, although it was not clear to what extent the incident was captured. The family has not seen any body-cam video.

The deputy was placed on administrative leave. The Arkansas Department of Public Safety issued a declaration on the ensuing investigation:

Special agents assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division of the State Police are conducting the investigation at the request of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department.

The circumstances of the traffic stop and what may have led the MP to fire his gun at Britain will be documented in the investigation. Once completed, the investigative record will be turned over to the Lonoke County District Attorney to decide whether or not the facts and evidence in the case comply with Arkansas laws relating to the use of lethal force by a law enforcement officer.

Meanwhile, Brittain’s family and friends are demanding answers and to protest the tragic death of the teenager.

Helen L. Cuellar

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