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Kadarius Smith police death in Leland, Mississippi

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A Black teen who died in March after Mississippi police allegedly “ran over” his body in a cruiser allegedly had a gun while he was being pursued, according to an incident report that contradicts initial claims.

The police incident report surrounding the death of Kadarius Smith, 17, was made public this week and offers a revised narrative that not only suggests the deadly encounter with an unidentified officer was an accident but also confirms there is no video footage from that fateful early morning of March 21 in the city of Leland.

The report is at odds with the account from Smith’s mother, who has claimed her son was run over from behind as evidenced by tire tracks that were visible on his back.

The report was shared by City Attorney Josh Bogen and claims that an officer was dispatched to a home after being alerted of “two suspects outside of the residence with handguns.” When the officer arrived, the report claims Smith “jumped from the porch” and “cuffed the right side of his pants” – ambiguous language meant to suggest he was in possession of a gun – before he “took off running.”

The report claims the officer ran after Smith before doubling back to his cruiser. As the officer continued his search for Smith, the teen “ran out in front of” the police car, the report claims.

That’s when the fatal collision took place after the officer “could not stop the patrol unit immediately,” according to the report.

Smith was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Kadarius Smith

Kadarius Smith. | Source: Ben Crump Law

Click here to read the incident report.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Smith’s family, pushed back against the updated police narrative that claims the teen was armed.

“It is important to look carefully at the facts in this case. The police incident report states twice that officers were responding to claims that a juvenile, not specifically Kadarius, had a handgun,” Crump said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Nowhere in the police incident report does it state that a handgun was recovered from the scene. This child was run over by the police and lost his life – that is what we know for sure.”

Crump had also been pushing for the release of any video footage. But on Monday, it was revealed that the Leland Police Department does not equip its officers or cruisers with cameras that are body-worn or attached to a vehicle’s dashboard. In fact, the Clarion-Ledger reported that “Mississippi has no state policy regarding the use of body-worn cameras, including no requirement that departments use cameras.”

Crump, who has cited a witness, said that was unacceptable.

“Kadarius’ death exemplifies the paramount importance of body cameras for every single officer on duty and dash cameras for every single police-issued vehicle patrolling our communities,” Crump added. “In the year 2024, to not have body or dash camera technology in place is irresponsible and speaks to a widespread cultural problem in these departments.”

Crump previously said that Smith’s mother claimed her son was run over from behind as evidenced by tire tracks that were visible on his back.

“I never [will] have the chance, an opportunity, to see my son grow up and become the young man I always knew he was going to be,” Smith’s mother, Kaychia Calvert, told NBC News.

Calvert added: “He’s supposed to graduate next year. I’m not going to get the chance to see that. He was going to move to Georgia to start his life. I’ll never see that. … If he would have had kids, I will never get the chance to see that. I will never see anything — nothing.”

In the days after Smith’s death, Crump also called for the officer to be fired.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the officer involved remained unidentified and placed on modified duty pending an investigation.

Crump has accused the Leland Police Department of engaging in a coverup of Smith’s death.

“The circumstances surrounding Kadarius’ death are truly heartbreaking for his mother and loved ones. This tragedy should have never happened and the officers involved must be held accountable. It is unconscionable that an officer would fatally run over a teenager who was running away from them,” Crump previously said.

Census data shows that 66% of Leland’s population is Black.

Leland Police Department Chief Billy Barber, a Black man, has been employed in that capacity for less than a year, according to a news article announcing his hire last August.

Smith’s death is the latest instance where Mississippi police have been accused of wrongdoing involving a victim who is Black in recent years.


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The post Kadarius Smith Update: Mississippi Teen ‘Run Over’ By Cop Had Gun That Was Never Found, Police Now Claim appeared first on NewsOne.

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