Lonoke, AR — In July, family and friends of 17-year-old Hunter Brittain laid their beloved teenage motorhead to rest and despite the funeral they are still demanding answers from police after an officer shot and killed him as he worked on his truck. But despite getting some answers — namely that Hunter was murdered with a bullet to the neck and arm while unarmed — the cop who killed him remains a free man.
Though the officer who killed Brittain has yet to be arrested, he was fired over the incident in July -- not for murdering an unarmed teenage boy -- but failing to film it when he did.
Lonoke County Sgt. Michael Davis violated department policy by failing to activate his body-worn camera during a traffic stop in the early morning hours of June 23, Sheriff John Staley said.
"Our policy says the deputy must activate the camera before encountering any member of the public while taking official action and certainly as part of any traffic stop," Staley said.
"My review of this deputy's actions has determined that he did not activate his body camera in a timely way. This means there's no video of the actual shooting. We see the aftermath but not the shooting. Due to that failure, I have terminated the employment of this deputy."
Other than firing the killer cop over the body camera failure, authorities have remained tight-lipped and have refused to release any details until last week when the coroner's report was released.
The report from the Pulaski County coroner, as the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported, said the initial 911 call came in at 3:08 a.m. on June 23 and Brittain was pronounced dead around 3:58 a.m. by an attending physician at Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock — his death ruled a homicide.
The report said that Davis conducted a traffic stop when "the decedent" [Brittain] got out of the vehicle and "got something out of the back" before moving toward the sergeant, after which the sergeant fired his weapon.
Though the autopsy was not released, the coroner's report negated any speculation as to whether Hunter was on drugs or alcohol and nothing was found in his system.
These are the only details that have been released so far and the family has yet to even see the autopsy. Thanks to a secretive law in the Arkansas state code, the autopsy results are "privileged and confidential" and that only a defendant, attorney of defendant or prosecuting attorney can be granted access to records "pertaining to a defendant's criminal case." Victims be damned.
As we reported, Brittain's friend, however, who was with him the morning he was killed, has spoken — and his words describe what appears to be a blatant act of murder.
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On the morning he was killed, Brittain and his friend Jordan King, 16, were working on his truck's transmission so Brittain could drive to work later that morning. Brittain's boss, Scott Hundley, who owns Hundley Construction, confirmed to KATV that he spoke with Brittain the night before to line up a ride to work if Brittain couldn't get his truck fixed.
“I was checking with him on his truck,” Hundley said. “[He was] sending me pictures of his truck at the shop. He says he's been working on this truck but he’s trying to make it.”
But thanks to Davis, Brittain would not make it to work the next morning. And, according to King, it's because Davis murdered him.
King spoke to KATV off camera and detailed how the situation unfolded. He told reporters that he and Brittain had worked through the night to fix Brittain's truck and after they finally got it running they took it on a test drive around 3:00 a.m.
According to King, while on their test drive, Davis pulled them over about a mile from the shop where Brittain was working on his truck. The shop, Mahoney's Body Shop, according to King is owned by a friend of their family and they had permission to be there to fix Brittain's truck.
King said Davis pulled them over on Arkansas Highway 89 and within just a few minutes, Brittain would be killed.
As KATV reports, King said Brittain's truck wouldn’t go into park, so Brittain got out to grab a blue oil jug to put behind his truck’s tires and stop it from hitting Davis' car. According to King, Davis then fired without telling Brittain to stop or get on the ground.
“They didn’t say one word that I know of. I didn’t hear it and it happened so fast,” King said.
King said after other deputies showed up, he was then handcuffed and forced into the back of a police cruiser for hours as he watched his friend bleed out on the pavement in front of him.
“[He] told me get out with my hands up and pull my shirt up and stuff, and then took me to the ground, put me in handcuffs and was dragging me around and stuff," King said. "And then I sat in the back of the cop car for about three hours."
King said he told deputies that he had no idea why Davis killed Brittain as he had no weapon and wasn't doing anything wrong.
Here we are, nearly three months later, and still, there has been no justice for Hunter.