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Police officers in Jonesboro, Ark. have some explaining to do, after a suspect was found shot in the head after being put in the back of a squad car, Saturday (July 28) night. Chavis Carter was riding in a pickup truck when he was stopped by police.

After searching the vehicle and running Carter’s information, police allege that he had marijuana in his possession and a warrant on his record for a missed court date. He was then handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car. “As protocol, he was handcuffed behind his back, double-locked and searched,” said Jonesboro Police Department Sgt. Lyle Waterworth. Within minutes Carter was dead, with police claiming that they were not in the car when the shot occurred, and heard a “thumping noise,” before turning around to find him deceased.

According to Carter’s mother, Teresa, there is no way that her son would have taken his own life.  “I think they killed him, my son wasn’t suicidal,” she said in an interview. She revealed that the 21-year-old called his girlfriend after being pulled over, and told her he would speak to her, once he was taken to jail. Teresa also noted that aside from the fact that he was handcuffed, he was shot in the right temple, but was left-handed, and therefore would not have been able to carry out the act.  “I just want to know what really happened. That’s all I want to know.”

Police claim that Carter had a hidden gun—despite being searched twice— which he pulled out and used on himself.

Although all signs point to at least one officer having involvement in Carter’s death, this story is not unlike accounts of other young Black men killed by police. Among those widely known include the death of Oscar Grant of Oakland, Calif. Grant, 22, was shot in the back by a police officer on New Year’s Day in 2009. The officers involved received a slap on the wrist, and Grant’s mother was awarded $1.3 million from the city.

One officer at the scene of Carter’s death has been placed on administrative leave while the department investigates the mater.


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Photo: KATV