Autopsy report supports Arkansas police in ‘backseat suicide’ incident

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, August 20, 2012 16:53 EDT
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An autopsy report released Monday backed up claims made by Arkansas police officers that an African-American man in custody shot himself in the head despite being handcuffed, according to the Associated Press.

“He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon, and despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head,” the autopsy report said.

Chavis Carter, 21, was picked up for an outstanding arrest warrant late last month, frisked, handcuffed and then frisked again. After police put Carter in the back of a patrol car, the officers said they heard several thumps and discovered the man slumped over with a gunshot wound to the head. He later died at a hospital.

“At the time of discharge, the muzzle of the gun was placed against the right temporal scalp,” the autopsy report said.

The odd circumstances of the incident led many to doubt the police officers’ story, including Carter’s mother.

“I think they killed him, my son wasn’t suicidal,” she told WREG-TV.

Arkansas police released a reenactment video in hopes of quieting suspicions about the alleged suicide. Days later, they released footage from the traffic stop. But doubts still remain.

“There’s still nothing in there about what actually happened with Chavis,” Benjamin Irwin, a Memphis-based lawyer representing Carter’s family, said.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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