HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Helena-West Helena police have released body camera footage just three days after cell phone video showed a police officer pointing a gun at man in a gas station parking lot.
Police say Edrick Truitt and several others were loitering in their cars in the parking lot of the Double Quick on Oakland Avenue Sunday morning.
The newly-released body camera footage shows the officer pulling his gun on Truitt seconds after approaching him, asking for his registration, and then ordering him to turn off his car.
In addition to the body camera footage and Truitt’s cell phone video, another cell phone video has also emerged of the encounter. But none of the videos show what police claim was in the seat beside Truitt: an assault-style rifle, which cell phone footage later shows police retrieving from his car.
When he spoke to WREG Sunday, Truitt claimed the weapon was never in reach.
“It was in the backseat or whatever. I wasn’t trying to grab my gun,” Truitt said.
The body camera footage shows Truitt and the officer arguing for about two minutes as the officer repeatedly asks Truitt to turn off his engine and Truitt refuses.
Truitt told WREG he was worried that if he turned off his ignition, police would think he was reaching for a gun.
Eventually, the officer grabs one of Pruitt’s arms, opens his car door and pulls him out of the vehicle. It appears it hadn’t been put in park mode, since a separate video shows the car lurch forward once Truitt is removed from it.
Police said the officer in the video remains on leave as the internal investigation continues and that they are still hoping to obtain new video of encounter.
Chief James Smith said he’s asked Arkansas State Police to help in the investigation.
Smith said Truitt was charged with loitering, failure to comply, resisting arrest and carrying a weapon. Although Truitt owns his gun legally, Smith said it shouldn’t have been where it was.
Truitt told WREG he is now being represented by the law firm of Ben Crump, who represented Trayvon Martin’s family.
The firm didn’t return WREG’s request for comment.
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