LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. – The deputy who shot a 17-year-old in Lonoke County last week is being fired by the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office for what the office is calling a policy violation.
According to the sheriff’s office Sergeant Michael Davis has been with the sheriff’s office since 2013. He had been promoted to the Patrol Sergeant position in January of 2020.
In a video release from the sheriff’s office, Sheriff John Staley said Davis violated department policy by not having his body-cam turned on at the time of the incident that ended with Hunter Brittain’s death.
Staley said he had issued body cameras to his deputies with the directions that the cameras had to be activated before encountering any member of the public before taking any official action.
He continued to say that after his review of the deputy’s actions the night of the shooting, he did not believe Davis activated the body camera “in a timely way,” meaning that while footage was captured after the shooting, there was no video of when the shooting itself happened.
According to a report from the sheriff’s office, Davis initiated a traffic stop of Brittain in the early-morning hours of June 23 that ended in Davis shooting Brittain. The teen was taken to a North Little Rock hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Many of those who have been gathering outside the sheriff’s office since the deadly shooting have been advocating to see body-cam footage of the incident. Staley had said that he supported release of whatever footage was available from the case, when “the law and the State Police investigation allow it.“
The Arkansas State Police are leading the investigation into the shooting, and on Wednesday noted that they have not received any directives from the Lonoke County prosecutor to release any evidence to the public from the incident.
Staley noted that there was “a lot of noise” on social media about the case that he called misinformation.
He said he wanted to make it clear that his announcement Thursday was not him determining if Davis acted legally in the shooting, noting that was the point of the independent investigation by the ASP and that a final decision on if the shooting was “proper” would come from the prosecuting attorney.
The sheriff ended the video with a request for peace and patience from those upset with the killing of Brittain. Staley claimed many “out-of-state” activists had “blown up social media with irresponsible and hateful statements.”
He noted that this has led to death threats against staff in his office, adding that “every one of those threats is a crime.”