HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Ben Crump, the attorney representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, is now reportedly involved in the case of Ed Truitt, the man at the center of a viral video showing a confrontation with a police officer.
Truitt says he was doing nothing wrong while parked at a closed Quick Stop store Sunday morning when a Helena-West Helena Police officer
shoved a gun in his face.
But police Chief James Smith sees it differently.
“There’s three sides to anything,” Smith said. “The police officer’s side, that gentleman’s side and the truth.”
Smith said there had been break-ins and loitering at that location, and it’s not out the ordinary for officers to check on the store after hours since it seems to be a crime magnet.
“We can’t Monday morning quarterback this thing,” he said. “We can’t sit back and say he should have done it this way or that way.”
Then there’s Truitt’s account of feeling like moving his hand in any direction out of sight from the officer might have resulted in shots fired.
“I ain’t moving. No, my hands in the air,” he says in the video.
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“We want to know the facts,” Smith said. “What was the officer thinking, why did he pull his weapon, did he feel imminent danger?”
The police chief says there is one thing being glazed over in this whole ordeal, and that is the fact that Truitt was charged with having a gun in the vehicle. In fact, police say that gun was found on the passenger side of the car.
“The officer had seen a weapon inside the vehicle,” Smith said. “There was an assault rifle inside the vehicle.”
Smith says his job is to check out everything, including how Truitt was removed from the car.
“Why was the vehicle constantly rolling, once he pulled him out? We want to know all factors and make sure we do the right thing.”
Smith said there is body camera video from several officers on the scene, as well as witness statements.
The chief interviewed the officers involved Tuesday. He said he wants to make one thing clear: he says it’s about being fair.
“We don’t want this to be a racial thing,” Smith said. “We want to make sure this officer did the right thing and that he is accountable for his actions.”
Smith said they are still reviewing making sure they didn’t violate policy or anyone’s civil rights.
Arkansas State Police have taken over the case, and if any criminal charges come of this, that will be handled by state police as well.
We reached out to attorney Crump’s office but did not hear back.