NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The North Little Rock Police Department (NLRPD) has released dashcam video of Sunday's officer-involved shooting and acknowledged that the agency and some of its officers have received threats after the incident that left a local teenager dead.
The information was released during a news conference late Wednesday morning.
NLRPD Chief Mike Davis told reporters that the family of Charles Smith, Jr., 17, who died in the incident, watched the video before the news conference, along with their attorney.
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He said police officials had met with the Pulaski County prosecutor after reviewing the video and they felt it needed to be released.
When the video was played at the news conference it began with the traffic stop on the car Smith was in, showing the time as 1:09 a.m. Sunday.
Officers ask Smith why they were driving fast and why he appears nervous. Smith says they were leaving a party. The teen is then patted down, during which he is heard saying “I can’t go to jail.” Gunfire is then heard and the video, edited and slowed down, shows a gun in Smith’s hands as shooting begins.
Chief Davis told reporters that the first two gunshots came from Smith, one of them narrowly missing an officer’s face. He says all three officers on the scene then return fire, shooting multiple times.
"These officers were left with no choice but to return gunfire," Chief Davis said.
When the video ended Chief Davis asked that the community be patient as the investigation is still ongoing.
Smith's family released the following statement late Wednesday afternoon through their attorney:
On Sunday January 7, 2018, seventeen-year-old Charles Smith, Jr. was fatally shot by North Little Rock Police officers following a traffic stop that occurred at approximately 1 a.m. The family of the slain teenager is now calling for law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the traffic stop, subsequent search, use of deadly force and treatment of the decedent immediately after the shooting.
Our office has been retained to gather evidence concerning incident and evaluate the constitutionality of the use of force and subsequent actions and/or inaction by law enforcement.
Whenever a life is taken under the color of state authority it is a tragedy. Justice demands that the family of the decedent be treated with the utmost respect and be provided access to all available evidence in order to ensure accountability. At a minimal, the family and their representatives must be granted access to all available body and dashcam footage as well as the employment files of the officers involved in the deadly shooting. Evidence that appears to be exculpatory to the officers has already been released to the media, along with the unrelated criminal records of the decedent. The Smith family encourages local officials not to follow a common pattern of character assassination and obscurity concerning important facts..