RUSSELLVILLE (AP) — A former Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was charged Friday with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a teenager whose death has drawn the attention of national civil rights activists.
A special prosecutor announced the charge against 30-year-old Michael Davis, a former sergeant with the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Hunter Brittain.
Davis surrendered to state police around noon on Friday and was taken to the Lonoke County Detention Center for the booking process. He will be taken to an undisclosed jail until a court appearance next week.
Davis shot Brittain during a June 23 traffic stop outside an auto repair shop along Arkansas Highway 89 south of Cabot, a city of about 26,000 people roughly 30 miles northeast of Little Rock. Brittain’s family has said the teenager was unarmed and was holding a jug of antifreeze when he was shot.
Brittain died of gunshot wounds to the arm and neck, according to a coroner’s report released earlier this month.
Davis was fired by Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley in July for not turning on his body camera until after the shooting occurred. Staley said there’s no footage from the shooting, only the aftermath.
Brittain was eulogized by the Rev. Al Sharpton and two attorneys who represented George Floyd. They said the teen’s death highlighted the need for interracial support for efforts to reform police practices. Brittain’s family and friends have regularly demonstrated outside the Lonoke County sheriff’s office, demanding more details on the shooting.
Floyd died in May last year when a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin the handcuffed Black man’s neck to the ground. His death sparked nationwide protests over-policing and racial inequality.