Who Killed Chavis Carter in the Backseat of a Cop Car?
Chavis Carter was found shot to death in a police car with his hands cuffed to the steering wheel. The Jonesboro, Arkansas police say he committed suicide., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Who killed Chavis Carter in the backseat of a cop car?
These days, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, everyone is talking about Chavis Carter and what some believe is a police cover-up. His death in July while in police custody has garnered national attention and left Jonesboro residents wondering what really happened.
Police said the 21-year-old shot himself while handcuffed and detained in the back of a squad car. Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates called Carter’s death “bizarre,” saying it “defies logic at first glance.” “Specifically, how Carter suffered his apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound remains unexplained,” said a department statement.
On Sunday, July 29, Carter and two others were pulled over around 9:50 p.m. in a pick-up truck on a residential Jonesboro side street. Someone had called 911 to report that a truck was driving suspiciously “up and down” the street with its lights off, according to a police report.
Officers stopped the vehicle, frisked the three, and found a small amount of marijuana and empty baggies on Carter, who they said had initially given a false name. They also found a bag of what they believe to be sugar and an electronic scale under a seat. The two other passengers were released, but Carter was handcuffed, searched a second time, and placed in the back of a police car. Mississippi court records showed Carter, of Southhaven, Miss., was wanted on a bench warrant for an arrest in March after he failed to meet the provisions of a guilty plea on drug charges a year earlier.
Not long afterward, police said, an officer found Carter slumped over, soaked in blood and suffering from a gunshot wound to his head. A small, .380 caliber handgun along with a spent cartridge, were found in the backseat with Carter, who was still handcuffed. The police said the gun had been reported stolen in June. Yates said in a recent statement that witnesses and a police car dashcam corroborate the department’s suicide theory.
The FBI has since joined the investigation into Carter’s death. The two officers on the scene the night of the shooting, Keith Baggett and Ron Marsh, both of whom are white, are on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Huffington Post
The issue spilled on to the streets on Monday [August 6] when more than 300 people attended a vigil in his memory. Some carried signs which read: “Justice for Chavis. What really happened?” smh.com.au
According to police, Carter somehow managed to get a gun and fired a single shot into his head. Just how the police officer who searched Carter was able to find what amounted to a dime bag of pot but missed a small-caliber handgun is a mystery to a lot of people. USA Today
And so, too, is how Carter could have shot himself in the head, even though “his hands were still cuffed behind his back,” according to the police report. His mother, Teresa Carter, told a Memphis, Tenn., television station that police said her son was shot in the right temple. But, she said, Carter was left handed. USA Today
For too many African-American sons, this kind of bizarre logic is commonplace in encounters with law enforcement — from the dark woods of Jonesboro, Ark., and the manicured lawns of Sanford, Fla., to the hot pavements of Chicago and New York City. Theroot.com