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Man says Helena-West Helena officer unnecessarily pulled gun during encounter

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Helena-West Helena Police said they'll check body camera footage to see what truly transpired Sunday morning after a man claimed an officer pulled a gun on him for no reason.

Edrick Truitt claimed he was parked Sunday just after 3 a.m. at a closed Double Quick store to meet up with family before heading home to Jonesboro.

"As we were leaving out, a car jumped in front of me, so I hit my brakes to let them go by," Truitt said.

He said he was trying to leave when police cars pulled up, telling everyone to clear the parking lot. By that time, Truitt said he was blocked in and couldn't move, so he became the center of attention, and things just escalated from there.

Truitt said he was afraid and started filming with his cell phone just in case.

"I started rolling because he jumped out with his gun," Truitt said.

He said the officer gave demands, but he didn't want to make even the slightest move.

"Played it safe," Truitt said. "He was like, 'That's a failure to comply,' but if I would have complied, I would have got killed."

In the video, you can hear the officer tell Truitt to turn off the car and that he won't shoot him. The officer even told him his body camera was on and filming the whole thing.

Truitt said he didn’t believe the officer, so he didn’t reach to turn the car off, and he wanted his own proof aside from what video might surface later on.

Even though there are camera's perched at each corner of the store, Double Quick said they are not sure those cameras caught the entire encounter.

Truitt appears to have kept his hands out of the car's window the entire time. Eventually, his phone is dropped, as it looks like he's pulled from the car.

Police said they found a gun in the back of the car, which Truitt never denied having with him.

Truitt said the gun wasn't in his reach, and officers had nothing to worry about. As far as he's concerned, in hindsight, he said there's nothing he would have done differently.

"What I did saved my life," he said. "That’s why I’m here talking to y'all. If not, y'all would be covering a story about how I got shot."

Truitt was arrested for loitering and disregarding an official order.

The officer is now getting threats and was off duty Sunday.

The police department is in the process of checking body cameras and getting statements from the officers involved. If policy violations are found, those will be handled, according to the police chief.

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