An Arkansas teen tried to pull a gun and fire it before police officers fired back and killed him, North Little Rock’s top cop said Wednesday as the department released dashcam video of the fatal shooting.
Police Chief Mike Davis hopes that the footage will dispel “misinformation” that 17-year-old Charles Smith was unarmed during the traffic stop early Sunday.
“Misinformation gets out that says … the subject wasn’t armed, the subject didn’t shoot,” Davis said. “He was armed and we, in fact, had to take action because of that. I want people to see what happened.”
Smith was a back-seat passenger in the vehicle when it was stopped in North Little Rock for speeding and a headlight violation. An officer searched Smith and asked about weapons and marijuana.
The officers seemed to have polite conversation with the people in the car, asking Smith about his Nike Air Force 1 shoes.
“How do you like them?” the officer asked, referring to the shoes.
However, an officer on multiple occasions told Smith not to reach for something, and the two wrestled to the ground. “I can’t go to jail,” Smith said.
An officer tried to use a Taser, but the attempt failed.
“Get your (expletive) hand out,” an officer told Smith. Then the officer yelled, “It’s a (expletive) gun.”
Smith pointed a handgun at officers, according to the video, and cocked it while his right hand is pinned against a curb. He fired the weapon, and cocked it again. The officers opened fire, killing Smith.
“I want to offer my condolences to the Smith family and my prayers as well,” Chief Davis said, according to KATV. “I also want to ask for continued support for not only the officers involved in this tragic incident but to all officers who are out serving and protecting our city each and every day.”
The video had been shown to the teen’s family earlier on Wednesday. Smith family lawyer Willard Proctor Jr. said “we’re not at a point where we can make any conclusions.”
The officers involved in the shooting did not have body cameras, Davis said. Prosecutors will determine if the use of deadly force was necessary.
With News Wire Services