More news in the shooting death of Chavis Carter may crumble the theory that he did not commit suicide. Carter was shot while in the back of an Arkansas police car in late July, and while the Jonesboro Police Department believes that he took his own life, family and friends beg to differ.
On Wednesday (Aug. 22), police released a four-page statement taken from Carter’s girlfriend, whom he called before what he thought would be a trip to jail. In the end, Carter was found dead in the back of the cop car, with the two arresting officers on the scene claiming that he shot himself in the head while restrained by handcuffs.
Carter’s girlfriend, whose name has not been released, told investigators that the 21-year-old phoned her expressing his love for her, and his fear of being in custody. Carter made two calls after he was apprehended, one of which occurred while he was in the back of the police car.
Officers searched Carter twice, but failed to find the weapon. “It is presumed that Carter secreted the gun in the rear of the car after the pat-down but before the cuffing and second search,” said a police statement.
Regardless of the new report, Benjamin Irwin, the Memphis lawyer representing Carter’s family believes that the case is far from over. “I think the critical points still remain that this young man was in police custody. He lost his life at a time when they had a responsibility and duty to protect him,” Irwin said.
Although the department has concluded that police did nothing to lead to Carter’s death, the absence key pieces of evidence raise even more doubt. While a dashcam video of Carter being arrested was released by authorities, the section of the tape where he would have shot himself (while the two officers were away from the car) was missing. Additionally, because the case was ruled a suicide police did not request testing on gun residue, but have since requested the results from the state’s crime lab.
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