LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Lawyers for the family of Hunter Brittain have filed a lawsuit against the former deputy accused of shooting the unarmed teen, as well as the Lonoke County sheriff.
Attorneys Ben Crump and Devon M. Jacob filed the lawsuit Thursday, on the one-year anniversary of the death of Brittain.
In a release, Crump and Jacob said Brittain and two of his friends were working on his truck’s transmission in the early morning hours of June 23, 2021, when he was pulled over by former Deputy Michael Davis.
During the traffic stop, Davis shot Brittain. The teen was unarmed at the time. He was taken to a hospital in North Little Rock where he later died.
Shortly after the shooting, Davis was fired by Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley, with the sheriff citing policy violations in the dismissal. Specifically, Staley said Davis had not activated his body cam “in a timely way,” which meant there was no video of the shooting.
Davis was found guilty of negligent homicide in the shooting but not guilty on a charge of manslaughter. The jury sentenced Davis to one year and issued a $1,000 fine, which is the maximum sentence. He is appealing the verdict.
In their filing, Crump and Jacob called the “failures” of Staley and Davis “extensive” and “disturbing” while claiming they “directly caused the tragic and preventable death” of Brittain.
“With the lawsuit filed today against former deputy Michael Davis and Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley, we move one step closer to achieving justice for Hunter Brittain, his family, and for the other two boys who are forever traumatized by this tragedy.
“Not only was Hunter unarmed, complying, and posing no threat to the deputy, he was in fact trying to protect him by grabbing a bottle of antifreeze to put behind the wheel of his truck so it wouldn’t roll back into the deputy. Without warning or cause, Davis fired a shot into the 17-year-old’s neck, killing him. The failures of former deputy Davis and the Lonoke County Sheriff are extensive, disturbing, and directly caused the tragic and preventable death of Hunter Brittain.
“Hunter’s family had dreams of watching him attend prom, graduate, and go on to pursue a career with Nascar. Now, they cling to their fight for justice and accountability. It is our endeavor to help them get it.”Statement from Brittain family legal team
The lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.