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story.lead_photo.caption This screenshot from a North Little Rock Police Department video shows officers struggling with a teen gunman before he was fatally shot.

The North Little Police Department on Wednesday released footage showing the fatal shooting of a teenage gunman by officers after a struggle.

Police Chief Mike Davis said during a news conference that the release of dashboard-camera video footage from the scene was deemed necessary after a “great deal of misinformation” spread on social media.

“I fear that misinformation gets out that says the subject wasn’t armed, that the subject didn’t shoot,” he said, adding “that is not the case.”

Davis shared little new information regarding the ongoing investigation during the news conference at the agency’s training building.

On Sunday, officers initiated a traffic stop shortly after 1 a.m. near the intersection of 52nd Street and Camp Robinson Road, according to police.

[RELATED STORY: Teen was breaking curfew when stopped by police]

WARNING: Video contains sensitive content


Note: The edits to the video, including the pauses and red circles, were added by the North Little Rock Police Department.

The vehicle had been traveling an an “excessive speed” and had a headlight that wasn't functioning properly, Davis said.

The chief said responding officers expressed concern over the “nervousness” of the driver while speaking with him. Three people inside the car, including its driver, were asked to step out in the minutes that followed, the footage shows.

Authorities said a gun and a small bag containing marijuana was found on one of the occupants — 17-year-old Charles Smith Jr. — during a pat-down search. A stolen firearm was also later found on the driver’s-side floorboard.

“As officers continued to pat him down, Smith attempted to gain control of a handgun and flee, at which time he was taken to the ground,” Davis said.

Officers tried to subdue Smith using a stun gun but were unsuccessful, said Sgt. Brian Dedrick, a Police Department spokesman. He did not say how many attempts were made.

A struggle ensued around 1:15 a.m., and Smith eventually pulled out the weapon from his waistband and fired one shot that almost struck the other two occupants nearby outside, according to police.

“[Smith] is then observed engaging the slide back on the gun and again firing at officers, almost striking one officer in the face,” the chief said.

That resulted in three officers firing shots at Smith less than a minute later, the video showed. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

“No officer wants to be put in this position, but these officers were left with no other choice but to protect their lives and return fire,” Davis said.

He added that an investigation into the shooting should be completed “very soon.” Findings will then be submitted to the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney’s office for review regarding whether deadly force was justified.

The North Little Rock Police Department — one of a handful of mostly large departments in Arkansas that elect to conduct in-house criminal investigations of such encounters — is conducting that investigation.

A separate internal probe is also expected into whether department protocol was followed, according to police.

A lawyer for Smith's family, Willard Proctor Jr., said police showed the video to the teenager's relatives earlier Wednesday.

"We're not at a point where we can make any conclusions," Proctor said. He said that once a complete set of video footage is released, there could be an opportunity to look into "what, if anything, could have been done differently."

Davis said the officers involved did not have body cameras. He said the names of the officers involved could be released after a plan is in place to protect them, since the agency has received threats.

"Misinformation gets out that says ... the subject wasn't armed, the subject didn't shoot," Davis said. "He was armed and we, in fact, had to take action because of that. I want people to see what happened."

During Wednesday’s news conference, Davis advised media outlets to “exercise discretion” regarding the release of footage to the public. Live streaming and recording of the video was not allowed. Instead, copies were provided to reporters for review.

Read Thursday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Photo by Brandon Riddle
North Little Rock Police Chief Mike Davis speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, regarding the release of footage from a fatal officer-involved shooting earlier that week.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Hunter Field and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Archived Comments

  • Packman
    January 11, 2018 at 9:09 p.m.

    Hey DoubleBlind - I did in fact answer your question. Do you want some specifics? Ask and you will receive.
    .
    And good ole PopSnob predictably calls people speaking truth racist. To solve the problem we must elect politicians that do not fear being called racist when speaking truth and fact, which means voting for conservative Republicans. Blacks from a two parent home are less likely to commit crime much more so than education. But you be you, Pop, and inner city black kids will continue to live in poverty and commit inordinate amounts of crime. And forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting for you to provide facts to support anything you ever say.

  • PopMom
    January 12, 2018 at 6:57 a.m.

    Packman,

    There are a number of factors which predict academic success and make an individual less likely to prevent crime. Having two parents is just one factor. (I came from a broken home.) The black teen from Little Rock who won teen jeopardy had a single mom (who happened to be a Vandy grad.) Having two parents in the house is not something that we as a society can legislate. What we can do is ensure that the kids go to quality schools and have access to adequate counseling and live in a fit home. I am glad that Asa is working on improving child protective services. Children raised in fit homes rarely turn into thugs.

    An excerpt for the Review of Educational Research Fall of 2005 "Socioeconomic Status and Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review of Research"

    " A number of factors have been suggested to explain the
    lower academic achievement of minority students, but the research indicates three
    main factors: Minorities are more likely to live in low-income households or in single
    parent families; their parents are likely to have less education; and they often
    attend under-funded schools. All of these factors are components of SES and
    linked to academic achievement (National Commission on Children, 1991).
    School Location
    The location of schools is closely related to the social and economic conditions
    of students. A narrative review of research on school location (U.S. Department of
    3179-04_Sirin.qxd 9/2/05 2:07 PM Page 420
    Socioeconomic Status and Academic Achievement
    421
    Education, 1996) showed that even after accounting for family SES, there appear
    to be a number of significant differences between urban, rural, and suburban
    schools. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for example,
    indicated that the achievement of children in affluent suburban schools was significantly
    and consistently higher than that of children in “disadvantaged” urban
    schools (U.S. Department of Education, 2000)."

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