Charles Smith Jr., a 17-year-old North Little Rock teen was shot and killed by police on Sunday after a traffic stop quickly turned deadly.
But like several previous police shootings involving communities of color, a tale of two stories exists regarding what led to the fatal encounter.
The North Little Rock Police Department maintain that Smith and three other people were pulled over for a broken light on Sunday around 1 a.m. Officers maintain that a struggled ensued with Smith during the search in which one shot was fired by the victim.
Officers fired back, fatally shooting Smith. After performing CPR on the victim, he was pronounced dead at the scene KATV reports. Investigators told the outlet that they recovered a weapon on the scene.
However Smith’s older brother, 21-year-old Jujuan Smith, tells a completely different story than the one authorities presented. Smith was one of the four riding in the car when police initiated the stop.
Speaking before a vigil for his slain brother, Jordan said that initially everyone was asked to get out the car, but the stop suddenly took a different turn when three officers reached Charles.
“They were tussling him to the ground,” Jordan said. “When they were on the ground, one of them jumped up off of him, one shot went off, and he was like ‘he got a gun.’”
The encounter then turned deadly wh shots were fired. “He just shot him five times,” said Jordan. “He couldn’t move, he couldn’t do nothing. He had three officers on top of him, so how was he moving?”
Jordan also maintains that officers did not check the lights during the stop, which was their reason for pulling the car over. “If it was the light, don’t y’all walk around and be like, ‘this the light’? They didn’t do none of that,” he said. “They just pulled up, told us to get out, tussled with him, and they shot him and killed him.”
According to Jordan, his brother did not own a gun. “Why did y’all shoot him?” Jordan asked. “Y’all got tasers. Use them tasers. Why did y’all have to kill him?”
Police have charged all of the passengers with possession of a firearm, KATV reports. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Smith’s shooting is the fourth reported Arkansas police involved shooting where victims were Black males according to an ongoing study by The Washington Post.
Smith’s family continues to piece together the timeline that resulted in his death. KATV reports that as of Monday, Smith’s mother was unable to view her son’s body.