Here’s a fun activity for you fans of Cops who enjoy doing your own reenactments. . Hide a gun on your body. Get a buddy to handcuff you with your hands behind your back. Then have him search you. Twice. Make sure you stash it somewhere good so he can’t find it, but you can get to it when you need it. Now sit down in the backseat of your car. Now with your hands cuffed behind your back, retrieve the gun and since you’re left-handed, shoot yourself in the right side of the temple.
According to the police department of Jonesboro, Arkansas, this is exactlywhat 21-year-old Chavis Chacobie Carter did.
… Chavis Chacobie Carter had been a passenger in a pickup truck when Officer Ron Marsh found “some marijuana” and plastic baggies in his possession. Marsh also determined that Carter had been wanted on a warrant after he missed a court date for drug charges in DeSoto County, Mississippi.
Marsh then had Carter “exit the patrol unit, placed him into handcuffs, searched him a second time then placed him into the back seat of the patrol unit.”
Jonesboro Police Sergeant Lyle Waterworth told WREG that Carter had been “handcuffed behind his back and double locked, and searched.”
At that point, Officer Keith Baggett believed a passing car ran over a piece of metal in the road because he heard “a loud thump with a metallic sound.” Baggett said he then heard “several thumps” after Marsh released the two other suspects. Marsh motioned Baggett over to the patrol car and said the 21-year-old had shot himself.
The two cops have been put on desk duty. Standard operating procedure. Carter’s mom says her son wasn’t suicidal and since he was left-handed but the bullet struck him on the right side of the head, she wants answers. Standard operating procedure.
Most of us will read the details of Carter’s “suicide” and come to a one-word, two-syllable response: bullshit. Why would Carter kill himself over a bullshit drug bust. How incompetent were these two hick cops that they could miss a gun Carter stashed after two searches? How stupid would you have to be to shoot a suspect in the back seat of a cruiser. There are much easier ways to make it look like Carter was trying to escape and justify shooting him. That’s the only reason I’m not ready to say these two cops aren’t guilty as hell.But I’m not going to listen to any “experts” on the news cautioning how we must reserve judgment and not reach any conclusions before the facts are all in. If this all sounds familiar it’s because we just went through this in February with Trayvon Martin. Yet it’s not the tragedy of Trayvon, but the case Carter’s mysterious death echoes is the killing of Oscar Grant who was handcuffed and lying face-down when a transit cop shot him in the back.
What comes next is the what always comes next. Some expert who used to be in law enforcement will agree we need to get to the bottom of what happened in the back of that Jonesboro police cruiser and that everyone needs to chill and let the system go forward. Or to put it another way, “Y’all be cool and while we try and put the lid back on this mess.”
The problem with leaving things up to the system is the system is much more effective in exonerating the killers of young Black men than they are punishing them especially when they wear a badge. If only George Zimmerman had been successful in his attempts to become a cop. He could have blown Trayvon Martin away and be up for a medal of valor instead of facing a murder rap.
Like I said, not enough of the facts are known to assess blame in the Carter case, but there are limits to how many “experts” I can defer to when I know how often interactions between cops and African-Americans end badly.
Maybe Carter was a contortionist or double-jointed or into yoga, but I have no dobuts that this “internal investigation” noise is bullshit. Why should anyone trust Billie Joe to interview his buddy Jim Bob, and get to the bottom of what really happened?
Billie Joe: Hey, Jim Bob. How’d Carter get ahold of a gun and shoot himself?
Jim Bob: Beats me.
Billie Joe: Okay. Investigation’s over.
“Internal investigation” is just an euphemism for “wait until the heat is off and we’ll slide you back out there after a few weeks off with pay.”
This case needs to be investigated, but not by Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney Fife. The FBI, Justice Department and state law officials need to take over this “investigation” before it turns into another just another dead Black suspect in custody whitewash (which is where it’s headed).
The police chief himself says the shooting is “bizarre and defies logic at first glance.” Needless to say, the autopsy results will be very interesting.
We’ve been here before and here we go again.
- Chavis Carter: Dead From Gunshot To Head While Hands Are Cuffed Behind His Back In Rear Of Police Cruiser (theobamacrat.com)
- How Did 21-Year-Old Chavis Carter Get Shot In The Head While Handcuffed In A Police Car? (thinkprogress.org)
- Handcuffed Marijuana Arrestee Shot, Killed in Police Car (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)