LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The law firm representing the family of Chavis Carter responds to the reinstatement of one of the two officers who arrested Carter when he committed suicide.
Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates confirmed Monday that Officer Keith Baggett returned to work after an internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in the shooting death of 21-year-old Chavis Carter.
Here is a press release from The Cochran Firm:
MEMPHIS, Tenn., August 28, 2012 - One month after 21-year-old Chavis Carter lost his life mysteriously after being searched twice by the Jonesboro Police Department, handcuffed and placed into custody in the backseat of a squad car, arresting officers Ron Marsh and Keith Bagget were reinstated by the Jonesboro Police Department.
The officers had been on paid administrative leave during what The Cochran Firm Managing Partner Benjamin Irwin has called a disappointing police investigation.
"The Jonesboro Police have reinstated both officers that displayed such a high degree of negligence that it lead to the loss of a life of a young man in their custody," Irwin said. "It continues to become abundantly clear that the Jonesboro Police Department was not only negligent the night of the shooting; it is also seemingly clear that they are becoming negligent in their investigation of the events that happened on July 28, 2012. This appears to be becoming more and more like an attempt to clear two officers of any wrongdoing than to discover the actual facts of what occurred that night young Chavis Carter lost his life."
Irwin points to the absence of gun residue tests and missing audio and video provided by the Jonesboro Police Department, as well as selectively edited witness interviews released to the public.
"We know they have not released all the information they have related to this case," Irwin said. "We know they did not complete gun residue testing on Chavis. We know they selectively chose sections of interviews to be released to the public instead of releasing the full interviews that could have helped the public better understand what happened. What happened leading up to him being taken into custody? What happened to the video? What happened to the audio? What has happened with the investigation since then?"
"And most importantly why," Irwin continued. "Why is the Jonesboro Police Department so determined to overlook such pressing issues and take such a rush to judgment?"
The Cochran Firm has started an independent investigation on behalf of the Carter family regarding the events that took place on July 28 and the events that have unfolded since that night.
"We will continue our investigation," Irwin said. "Upon the completion of our investigation, we will then move forward to take the appropriate legal steps necessary to make sure that Chavis Carter's family gets the answers and justice they deserve."
Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to contact The Cochran Firm Managing Partner Benjamin Irwin at (901) 523-1222 or (800) THE-FIRM.