Breaking News Emails
An Arkansas police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video showing him pointing a gun at a black man and pulling the man out of a car went viral.
Officer Terry Daughtery, a 3-year veteran with the Helena-West Helena Police Department, was responding to a call of loitering at the Double Quick gas station in Helena-West Helena on May 26 when the tense incident unfolded, according to NBC News affiliate WMC.
Ed Truitt, a welder from Jonesboro, Arkansas, said he and his cousin were asked to leave the gas station by a female officer but when he went to pull out of the parking lot, he was blocked by a police car. He was sitting inside in the driver's seat of the car when the officer approached with his gun drawn. It was then that Truitt started recording the encounter on Facebook live.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 800,000 times, Daughtery can be heard ordering Truitt to put his car in park and exit the vehicle.
"Shut your car off," Daughtery can be heard saying over and over again, at one point adding, "he's got a gun."
Truitt does not comply, but keeps his hands in the air throughout the encounter.
"I ain't moving my hands, he trying to shoot me," Truitt is heard saying, he then repeatedly says "my hands in the air, my hands in the air."
The incident continues until the officer pulls Truitt from the car and places him in handcuffs.
Truitt told NBC News that he didn't listen to Daughtery's orders because he was afraid that if he made any movements the officer might discharge his weapon.
“I just knew not to move,” Truitt told NBC News. “I thought I was going to lose my life right then and there. I was scared for the first time in my life,” he added.
Chief James Smith of the Helena-West Helena Police Department said officers retrieved an assault rifle from Truitt's car, according to WMC. Body camera footage released by the Helena-West Helena Police Department shows an officer carrying that weapon near the car.
Truitt was charged with carrying a weapon, loitering, resisting arrest and failure to comply to a lawful order and later released, according to WMC.
Truitt said he has retained attorney Benjamin Crump, who is best known for representing the families of shooting victims, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. Crump did not return NBC News' requests for comment.
Daughtery had previously been disciplined with the department but it was not known what for, according to WMC. When reached Friday, the Helena-West Helena Police Department declined to comment.
According to WMC, Chief Smith has been in contact with the Arkansas State Police about the incident. However, a spokesperson for the Arkansas State Police said it has not been "formally requested by any Helena or Phillips County authorities to conduct a criminal investigation."
In a statement released on May 26, Helena-West Helena Mayor Kevin Smith stated, “First, let me say we have heard the concerns that have been expressed in the community, from many perspectives, and will continue to listen. Most importantly, we are all relieved that nobody was seriously harmed this morning.”
Truitt said he hopes his actions serve as a lesson for black men when they interact with police.
“Sometimes doing what an officer tells you will get you in a terrible situation,” Truitt said, referencing his refusal to put his car in park. “I’m not supposed to be here, but I lived to tell my side of the story. Keep your hands in sight so that a police officer doesn’t have a reason to shoot you.”