The autopsy report in the mysterious death of Chavis Carter has not been released to the public, but the Jonesboro P.D. have released a video reenactment of how they believe Carter could have hidden a weapon and shot himself in the temple:
(CBS/AP) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Police in Arkansas released a video reconstruction Tuesday meant to show how Chavis Carter could have shot himself in the head while he was handcuffed in the back of a police car.
In the video, an officer played the part of Carter, 21, a Southaven, Miss., man who died from a gunshot wound to the temple on July 28 despite being frisked twice by Jonesboro police officers.
Carter was black and both of the officers who arrested him are white, a dynamic that has generated suspicion among some members of the city’s black community.
The officers stopped a truck in which Carter was riding after they received a report of a suspicious vehicle driving up and down a residential street. They arrested Carter after learning he had an outstanding arrest warrant related to a drug charge in Mississippi. Police also alleged Carter had marijuana.
In producing the video, the agency used the same type of handcuffs that were used on Carter and the same model of handgun found with Carter after he died, a .380-caliber Cobra semi-automatic. An officer of similar height and weight to Carter – 5 feet 8 inches, 160 pounds – sat in the back of a cruiser, leaned over and was able to lift the weapon to his head and reach the trigger.
“We just wanted to get a good perspective on how it could be done and the ease with which it could be done,” said Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates.
As far as how Carter concealed the gun, Yates said it’s possible he hid it in the patrol car after officers first frisked him. He was then in the car unhandcuffed until officers eventually decided to arrest him. They then conducted a more thorough search of Carter.
“It’s obvious they did miss the weapon on the first search. It is likely, since he was placed into the car unhandcuffed the first time, that he had an opportunity to stash the weapon in the car,” Yates said. “The second search, which was more thorough and inclusive, did not disclose the weapon either.”
I have no idea what the legal admissibility of a reenactment is in a court of law or any legal inquiry into Carter’s death, but I’m going to put on my skeptic’s cap here and say it certainly seems self-serving. I’m not saying it’s inaccurate or even that this isn’t how the events played out.
It just seems quite lucky for the version of events put forth by the Jonesboro police that they were able to produce a video that shows Carter killing himself exactly the way they say he did. However, I would be curious to ask Chief Yates, was the officer in their little home video able to successfully kill himself in one take and how many times did they have to re-shoot the scene until he got it right?
The police have not provided any explanation of how they missed the weapon or why Carter chose to commit suicide for a minor drug offense. If you’re inclined to buy the story of the cops, at the very least they are incompetent. If you’re inclined to buy the story of Chavis Carter’s mother she says her son wasn’t suicidal. Trymaine Lee of Black Voices reports Carter’s mother added her son called his girlfriend to tell her he was being arrested and would call her from jail. If cops really want to kill a suspect the best way to do it would be to say Carter tried to escape or was resisting arrest and got shot in the process. That would at last seem plausible.
But it doesn’t make much sense that Carter couldn’t hide $10 worth of marijuana, but found a way to stash a gun that two cops missed after searching him twice. It’s also convenient for the cops to suddenly recall Carter was placed in the cruiser without being handcuffed. That would have been an important fact to previously mention don’t you think?
Why did the Jonesboro cops release a reenactment instead of an edited version of the dash-cam video they claim to have of Carter shooting himself? Has the FBI or an attorney for the Carter family viewed the video?
First we’re told Carter was trying to effect a Houdini-like escape, but ended up shooting himself in the head. Now we’re supposed to buy the story put forward by some wannabee Steven Spielbergs in Arkansas? There’s still too many puzzling questions about this case and not nearly enough honest answers.
One thing is certain. The Jonesboro police doesn’t seem to be investigating what happened to Carter. They seem to be engaged in another time-worn tradition. Covering their asses and maybe covering up what really happened.
- Chavis Carter: Cops Release Reconstruction Video Proving Carter Shot Himself While Handcuffed [VIDEO] (newstalkcleveland.com)
- Jonesboro police ‘recreate’ alleged Chavis Carter handcuffed suicide (thegrio.com)
- The Curious Case of Chavis Carter (nytimes.com)