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2021-09-08 17:48:00 (UTC)

Cop wants job back

Sheriff feels, not his fault that the camera did not work, as he felt it was on. Not his fault that Hunter did not hear him put his hands up or listen to any of his commands, He felt threatened and didn't want to have to get hurt if Hunter was coming towards him . Refusing to stop and follow commands get you killed today.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) — The lawyer for the former deputy who shot and killed Arkansas teenager Hunter Brittain during an early morning traffic stop in June says Sergeant Michael Davis should be reinstated as a Lonoke County Sheriff's Deputy.

Attorney Robert Newcomb has represented more than 30 officers involved in officer-involved shootings and insists that Davis retaining a lawyer is not an admission of wrongdoing. He said the Southern States Police Benevolent Association and the Fraternal Order of Police both have a list of lawyers they recommend to their members if they’re involved in a critical incident, such as shooting.

Arkansans might remember Newcomb as a lawyer in another officer-involved shooting that gained media attention. Newcomb previously served as the lawyer for former Little Rock police officer Charles Starks in the shooting death of Bradley Blackshire during a felony traffic stop.

Now Newcomb is representing Davis, who he says should never have been fired from the sheriff's department. About a week after the death of the 17-year-old Brittain, Davis was fired for failing to activate his body camera until after he had shot the teen, a violation of department policy.

Newcomb said the county opted for one of the least expensive types of body camera.

“Sergeant Davis told him he thought he had turned it on, he went through the motions. Either the camera malfunctioned or he didn’t get all of the things pushed,” Newcomb said. He added that when Davis spoke with state police, he voluntarily waived his rights against self-incrimination.

Newcomb said that, unlike Little Rock Police body cameras that turn on when their car door opens, Lonoke sheriff deputies have to press multiple buttons to turn their cameras on.

“It was not a deliberate act on his part. Not regarding what’s going on, but you’re talking about a situation at 3 o’clock in the morning with a suspicious vehicle and you’re probably averaging more than one officer a week being killed,” Newcomb said.

Newcomb also said the Lonoke County's body cameras have short battery life and not enough storage capacity. He went on to say that Davis originally had a personal dash camera on his police vehicle but Sheriff John Staley ordered him to take it down.

“It’s a tragedy that young Hunter died. Sergeant Davis is just torn up about it, as you can be. I know he’s not as torn up as the parents. There’s no way to understand all their grief,” Newcomb said.

Newcomb said Davis has requested a grievance hearing to be reinstated as a deputy at the sheriff’s office.

“In this case the young man (Hunter) never responded to any of the verbal commands or said anything to officer Davis,” Newcomb said.

16-year-old Jordan King was in the truck with Hunter when he was pulled over. King told KATV that he didn’t hear Davis say anything to Hunter before he was shot. Newcomb said he heard a different story.

“The officer was saying show me your hands to Hunter, this person (the witness) stuck his hands out of the passenger side of the vehicle,” Newcomb said.

KATV reached out to Hunter’s uncle Jesse Brittain after speaking with Davis’ lawyer.

“They’re hiding stuff. I don’t believe them,” Brittain said. “I’m telling you that the dude is going to prison for murder. That’s all there is to it. He murdered my nephew.”

Brittain emphasized the need for the end to qualified immunity. He also said that he expects the case to go before a federal grand jury.

“Everybody in Lonoke County needs to stand up and vote and change the way that things work around there,” Brittain said. He also said that the right people voting would help end corrupt police practices and police violence.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham has sent the case file to the state prosecutor coordinator to be assigned to a special prosecutor. Newcomb said this doesn’t surprise him, because in small counties like Lonoke the prosecuting attorney typically knows all the deputies and they don’t want any appearance of partiality.

Arkansas' prosecutor coordinator, Bob McMahan, said Monday that he had appointed Jeff Phillips as the special prosecutor for the case.

State Police said that even though the case file has been sent over to the prosecutor’s office, it remains open and active and cannot be shared with the public. We are awaiting word on the appointment of a special prosecutor for this case.

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