Two weeks after a handcuffed 21-year-old Mississippi man mysteriously died from a gunshot wound in the head while in the back of a police car in Jonesboro, Ark., local police are standing by their theory that it was the victim who pulled the trigger, CNN reports.
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As NewsOne previously reported, Chavis Carter and two other men were pulled over by cops in Jonesboro on July 29 for allegedly driving suspiciously. The officers called for backup. During the stop, marijuana and small plastic bags were reportedly found on Carter. Officers said that they placed Carter in the back of one of the police vehicles.
They claim he was not handcuffed at that point.
When cops searched the vehicle Carter was driving, they said they found drug paraphernalia, including an electronic scale and a large bag with white powder. Cops claim they searched Carter a second time and placed him in the same police car. This time, police claim, he was handcuffed.
The white powder has not yet been confirmed to be an illegal substance and the marijuana that was found on Carter’s person was valued at $10.
Carter’s family, as well as the FBI who are also looking into the case, find it odd that a handcuffed man could shoot himself while cuffed in the backseat of a police vehicle. But Jonesboro Chief of Police Micheal Yates says the scenario is not far fetched at all.
“The average person who has never been in handcuffs, that never been around inmates or people in custody would react exactly the same way you just did: ‘How could that be possible?’ Well, fact of it is, it’s very possible. It’s quite easy,” Yates told CNN.
The two men in the car with Carter, both White, were released. But Carter was held because cops learned that there was an active warrant out for his arrest in Mississippi over a missed drug diversion program. Cops claim that he had also given them a fake name during questioning.
The arresting officers claim they do not know at which point the gunshot fired, even though they were only a car length away. It was only when the officers were about to head to the police station that they smelled smoke and noticed Carter slumped over and covered in blood. Police called 911 and tried to revive him, but he later died at a local hospital.
Carter’s mother, Theresa Carter, says that her son was shot on the right side of his head. She said he was left-handed.
“They searched him twice,” Carter to CNN. “I just want to know what really happened.”
According to Theresa, she said her son called his girlfriend to say that he would phone her from jail. It is a call that makes his mother question official police claims that he killed himself. He was not suicidal, she says.
There is dashcam footage from the day that Carter died. However, the problem is that the police cars were parked trunk-to-trunk. So the video did not capture footage of Carter during the final moments of his life.