HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Body camera footage from the Helena-West Helena Police Department shows an encounter between an officer who pulled his gun on a man at a gas station over the weekend.
This was first reported Saturday night, after Edrick Truitt went live on Facebook at the Double Quick gas station on Oakland Street as he was confronted by officers.
On Wednesday, police provided more details about what the suspect called a “frightening encounter.”
Chief James Smith told FOX13 he released the body cam footage for transparency reasons. He said what many people don’t know is that Truitt had a loaded assault rifle in his passenger seat.
“We are not trying to turn this into a racial thing. We just want to make sure we turn into a right thing,” said Smith. “If we mess up, we want to admit our faults and move on and investigate this thoroughly.”
Truitt, meanwhile, said he hired an attorney and would not provide a statement.
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In the video, the officer is seen approaching Truitt’s car. He asks the 20-year-old for his driver’s license and registration and tells him to turn off the car.
“Shut your car off, shut your car off. Gun, gun… shut your car off!” the officer said in the video.
Smith told FOX13 you can see officers taking the gun once Truitt was arrested.
“He had it drawn before he even came to the car,” Truitt said after the incident. “I threw my hands back out the window and I was like I’m not putting them back in here.”
Smith said officers asked several people to leave the parking lot of the store before the encounter with Truitt.
At the same time, Truitt recorded the whole incident on Facebook Live. It has been shared thousands of times.
An attorney with Ben Crump’s Law Firm, who handled the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, is representing Truitt. That attorney did not respond to FOX13’s request for a statement.
Smith said the officer arrested Truitt for carrying a weapon, resisting arrest and other charges.
Right now, this is under internal review.
Smith said he reached out to the Arkansas State Police to help with the investigation.
Truitt will appear in court on June 25. The officer has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
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