Little Rock, Arkansas, police fatally shot 17-year-old Charles Smith Jr. on Sunday — but officers said they had no choice in shooting Smith after he reportedly pulled a gun on officers.
In an attempt to dispel rumors surrounding the shooting, law enforcement opted to release the dramatic dashcam footage that featured the incident, as well as the moments leading up to the shooting, according to KARK-TV.
According to North Little Rock Police Chief Mike Davis, the traffic-related stop started off like many others.
Law enforcement officials pulled over the car that Smith — a back-seat passenger — was riding in for speeding and a headlight violation.
Officers can be heard on the dashcam tape casually speaking to the the occupants of the car.
“You ain’t got anything crazy on you, do you?” an officer can be heard asking the driver, later imploring him why he was driving so “dad-gummed” fast.
After officers searched the driver and front-seat passenger, an officer begins searching Smith, who reportedly becomes fidgety during the pat-down.
Officers on the recording can be heard telling Smith to stop reaching in his waistband.
According to KATV-TV and the dashcam footage, officers during the search discovered a small bag of marijuana in Smith’s pocket.
KATV noted that during the pat-down, Smith attempted to “gain control of a handgun and flee,” and officers swiftly took him to the ground.
Smith, on the tape, can be heard yelling, “I can’t go to jail!”
The network reported that an officer attempted to deploy a Taser, but was unsuccessful.
During the scuffle, an officer can be heard shouting, “It’s a f****** gun!”
According to Police Chief Davis, Smith can be seen in the video pulling out an object from the waistband area of his pants and pointing it at officers, KATV reported.
The network reported that the first shot fired by Smith nearly hit the car’s other two occupants — who were seated on the curb — and the second shot narrowly missed an officer’s face.
The officers proceeded to return fire on Smith, who died at the scene.
Davis during a Wednesday news conference said that he hoped the footage would quell any “misinformation” circulating about the fatal shooting, KARK reported.
“I fear that misinformation gets out that says … the subject wasn’t armed, the subject didn’t shoot,” Davis explained. “He was armed and we, in fact, had to take action because of that. I want people to see what happened.”
“I want to offer my condolences to the Smith family and my prayers as well,” Davis said, according to KATV.
“I also want to ask for continued support for not only the officers involved in this tragic incident but to all officers who are out serving and protecting our city each and every day.”
Arkansas Online reported that Willard Proctor Jr., a lawyer for Smith’s family, said that after showing the teen’s family the footage, “We’re not at a point where we can make any conclusions.”
He noted that once the complete video is released, the family might be in a better position to determine “what, if anything, could have been done differently.”
According to KARK, the Garland County Prosecuting Attorney’s office reported that Smith was facing charges for aggravated robbery and engaging in gang activity.
The charges were reportedly filed in December 2016. The charges were pending with a motion to dismiss, according to KARK.
KARK reported that a stolen gun was found in the car following the shooting.
The officers involved in the incident were put on paid administrative leave — which KARK said is “standard operating procedure” in this type of circumstance — pending an investigation.