Questions, concerns raised in police car shooting death

Although media reports are not readily implying anything in connection with a traffic stop in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and subsequent arrest of a man on an outstanding warrant for a drug charge that ended up with his shooting death while handcuffed in a police squad car, some doubts about the incident are being raised.

The incident happened in late July, and some people now say that the Jonesboro police reports and related information released last week raise as many questions as they provide answers in the case.

“I’m really starting to be concerned about what they’re trying to hide and what they’re not releasing or what they don’t want to release,” said a criminal defense attorney representing the dead man’s family.

The attorney’s concern comes from some irregularities and undeniable inconsistencies in the matter.

A foremost point of puzzlement is the finding that the man committed suicide with a gun, despite the arresting police officers frisking him twice — once before putting him in the car, while unhandcuffed, and then again after handcuffing him and placing him into the vehicle.

Other concerns relate to the audio recording equipment and evidence. The first is that, while police routinely record traffic stops, the officers stated that the audio equipment was not running during the encounter. They say that, although it had been running, it stopped just before the man was placed into the police car.

A second and related concern involves the memory card for the recorder. It was placed in an evidence envelope, but the Jonesboro police department now states that is was lost.

One of the arresting officers received a formal reprimand. The other was cleared of all misconduct by an internal investigation.

Source: ABC News, “Ark. Police reveal more records in cuffed shooting,” Chuck Bartels, Sept. 14, 2012