LONOKE, Ark. – It’s been nearly four days since 17-year-old Hunter Brittain was shot and killed by a Lonoke County Sheriff’s Deputy and loved ones have been protesting at the Sheriff’s office every night since.
The family says the teen was pulled over early Wednesday morning for a traffic stop and killed while holding a quart of oil. Now, the “Justice for Hunter” movement shows no signs of slowing down as his family waits for answers.
The motto is printed on everything; stamped on shirts, painted on cars, and chanted at every protest and memorial held at the Sheriff’s Office. Loved ones are no closer to learning how he was killed; but Saturday, they were able to remember the teen he was and work towards finding justice.
Saturday’s assembly was different than days past. The focus was more on remembering and celebrating Brittain, complete with a lantern and balloon release and prayer session for the community.
Scott Handley, Brittain’s boss, was in attendance – and has been every night since he was killed. “We’ll be out here every night until justice is served,” Handley promised. He adds that Hunter was one of the “finest young men I know,” and even printed shirts featuring “Justice for Hunter” and a picture of the teen.
For Brittain’s family, the shock of his sudden passing is starting to wear off. “At first it didn’t seem real,” explained uncle Jesse Brittain, “and now, it’s starting to set in.” He adds that these protests aren’t just for the teen, but “for all the other kids out here that are scared to pull over for the officers now.”
There’s haven’t been any updates on the death since Wednesday, and for the family, many questions remain: when will the body camera footage be released, if there is any? Why was Brittain pulled over in the first place? And when will he return home to be put to rest?
But among all the questions and the fight for answers is the opportunity to reflect as a community, and remember a teen taken too soon.
Arkansas State Police is currently overseeing the investigation into Brittain’s death.