LONOKE, Ark. – It’s been nearly two weeks since 17-year-old Hunter Brittain was shot and killed by a Lonoke County Sheriff’s Deputy, and protests at the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office have been a nightly occurrence.
The gathering was different Tuesday following Hunter’s memorial service, with the assembly quickly turning into a rally. Protestors were joined by nationally renowned speakers who attended Hunter’s memorial, with everyone fighting for the same cause – justice.
Supporters from across the state gathered in Lonoke to say goodbye to Hunter and push towards change.
Hunter’s family and friends were joined by representatives from the NAACP, who said they condemn all acts of police violence, regardless of race.
“We’re here to make sure that the victim’s family is taken care of as far as any right that they have,” explained Kwami Abdul-Bey with the NAACP Jacksonville branch.
He said the actions the association took were the same as what was done for other victims of law enforcement shootings, and that they acted immediately after hearing about Hunter’s death.
The big push today was to decertify Sgt. Michael Davis, the sheriff’s deputy that is accused of shooting Hunter.
Sheriff John Staley would need to request the decertification by July 9th for it to be implemented, barring Davis from applying at a different agency.
“[Right now], he can go to any other Sheriff’s office throughout the state of Arkansas, or any other police department,” Abdul-Bey explained.
Hunter’s legal team also spoke at the rally and voiced their support for the creation of “Hunter’s Law”.
The proposed act would mandate the use of body cameras for police officers and sheriff’s deputies and require the tech to be turned on for the duration of a shift.
Attorney Benjamin Crump said it’s vital that Hunter’s supporters be registered and ready to vote, since the teen will never be able to.
“Hunter was 17 years old,” Crump said. “Hunter will never get to vote.”
Along with the collection of nationally renowned speakers, Hunter’s friends and family used the rally to remember a life gone too soon.
Family friend Rosanne Pruitt shared that Hunter was a sweet kid, saying, “That’s why there’s so many here, because he touched so many lives at such an early age.”
Now, Hunter’s name has been added to the list of more than 40 Arkansans who have been killed by law enforcement since 2015, a troubling trend with concrete change being the only solution.
Right now, “Hunter’s Law” is still only a petition that needs thousands of signatures to move forward. Supporters are working to increase the count of those that sign-on, and then move it to the ballot.