The chief of the West Helena police department in Arkansas claims an investigation has been launched into one of his officers who was filmed aiming his gun at close range of an unarmed Black male.
Ed Truitt says he had only two options while facing the end of the officer’s barrel: obey and be shot dead or disobey and survive. He chose to survive, and the viral video clearly shows that officer Terry ‘Trey’ Daugherty was itching to end his life.
In the clip, Truitt is seen sitting inside a vehicle in the parking lot of an Arkansas convenience store. According to reports, law enforcement arrived at the scene around 3 a.m. on Sunday and demanded all occupants clear the lot. Truitt said he attempted to leave, but was blocked by other cars. That’s when officer race-soldier approached the vehicle with his gun drawn.
Truitt immediately pulled out his phone and began recording — watch the video via the Facebook embed below.
The footage shows Daugherty pointing his gun at Truitt while barking instructions to turn off his car. When Truitt asks what he did wrong, the officer shouts “He’s got a gun!,” as other cops are seen in the background speaking to individuals at the scene.
“Where? My hand’s in the air!” Truitt replies. “Come shut the car off, I ain’t moving my hands. He’s trying to shoot me!”
The video then shows Truitt being arrested for loitering and not obeying the officer’s orders.
“He was like, ‘That’s a failure to comply,’” he told WREG, “but if I would have complied, I would have got killed […] What I did saved my life. That’s why I’m here talking to y’all. If not, y’all would be covering a story about how I got shot.”
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The police department claim they found a gun on the passenger side of Truitt’s vehicle. In the video above, you can hear him tells officers that the firearm is registered in his name. But the gun was not within his reach at the time of the confrontation.
“The officer had seen a weapon inside the vehicle,” Police Chief James Smith told WREG. “There was an assault rifle inside the vehicle.”
The police department says they are trying to determine if Daugherty’s actions were appropriate.
“We want to know the facts,” Smith said. “What was the officer thinking, why did he pull his weapon, did he feel imminent danger? […] We don’t want this to be a racial thing. We want to make sure this officer did the right thing and that he is accountable for his actions.”
Smith added “There’s three sides to anything. The police officer’s side, that gentleman’s side and the truth.”
Famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump is reportedly now involved in this case but has not yet released a statement.
“We don’t want this to be a racial thing,” Smith said. “We want to make sure this officer did the right thing and that he is accountable for his actions.”
Arkansas State Police have taken over the investigation.