Deputy Fired For Not Turning On Body Cam Before Fatally Shooting Teenager

(Facebook/Screenshot/Public — User: Lonoke County Sheriff's Office)

Caroline Kucera Contributor
Font Size:

An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was fired Thursday because he did not activate his body camera until after the fatal shooting of a teenager during a traffic stop.

Sgt. Michael Davis did not follow the agency’s body camera policy in the moments leading up to the shooting, Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley said, according to ABC News.

“My review of this deputy’s actions has determined that he did not activate his body camera in a timely way,” Staley said in a video released on the office’s Facebook page. “This means there’s no video of the actual shooting. We see the aftermath, but not the shooting.”

Davis has been with the department since 2013, according to The Associated Press. Staley said he has “nothing to do” with the independent investigation of the incident that will determine whether Davis acted legally. The lack of video evidence is expected to complicate the matter.

“Without all the evidence, I cannot make any determination of whether the shooting was proper,” Staley said in the video. “It’s the right thing to do to let the state police and prosecuting attorney independently decide.”

The victim was reportedly 17-year-old Hunter Brittain, whom Davis pulled over June 23. Brittain was transported to a North Little Rock hospital after Davis shot him and Brittain later died there, the AP reported.

Brittain’s friends and family have reportedly protested outside the sheriff’s office nightly since the incident.

“We’re not getting anything,” Hunter’s uncle Jesse Brittain said, according to ABC News. “We’ve got Hunter’s body, and that’s it.”

His family has maintained that Brittain was unarmed at the time of the shooting and was holding a jug of antifreeze, ABC News reported. (RELATED: Deputy In Virginia Shoots Unarmed Man After Allegedly Mistaking Phone For Gun)

Brittain’s family has reportedly hired attorneys Devon Jacob and Benjamin Crump, both of whom were lawyers in George Floyd’s high-profile murder case, the AP reported.

“We’ll let the investigation play out, but I think what we already know is we have a 17-year-old child who was shot and killed by a police officer on a traffic stop merely because he was holding a bright blue jug of antifreeze,” Jacob said, according to the AP. “It’s very hard to explain how we ended up in this situation.”