NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - North Little Rock Police (NLRPD) have released the names of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a teenager.
Their names are released eight days after that department released dash-cam video of the shooting. The video was released, in part, because of threats made to the officers and the department according to the department chief.
Officer Cody Stroud, Officer Samantha Thompson, Officer John Blankenship - those are the three officers who were involved in the shooting death of C.J. Smith on Jan. 7.
It's a video we've all seen. Officers struggling with C.J. Smith after an early morning traffic stop. Smith ultimately pulled a gun on the officers and fired two rounds. The officers returned fire and Smith was pronounced dead on the scene.
Officers Stroud, Thompson and Blankenship were placed on paid administrative leave.
"It's the type of thing you don't ever want to happen, but unfortunately with this line of work, sometimes it does happen,” said Chief Mike Davis.
He said his department didn't immediately release the names of the officers because of death threats and safety concerns.
"Even though that goes with the territory, it is hard for us to accept the fact that there's a group of people who do not like us," he said.
For the last 11 days, the three officers have remained on leave while the incident was investigated.
"Our policies require that any officer involved in an officer involved shooting sees a psychologist as quickly as possible. We set up counseling sessions for those officers that are involved,” said Chief Davis.
The officers are also required to meet with their immediate supervisors and the Chief before they return to work.
So, how are the officers doing?
"They're as well as can be expected. But what is that? You wake up with it. You're going to bed with it. It's coming to your mind throughout the day and it's tragic," said Chief Davis.
The tragedy is affecting the families of all involved. NLRPD offers free counseling for the families of its officers.
"Their families are affected by this. They read all those comments on social media. The officers probably didn't but the families do, and it really affects them in ways we don't even realize,” he said.
Chief Davis says they expect to get the case file turned over to the prosecutor in the next couple of days. At that point, they will begin meeting with the officers to see if they're ready to get back on the road.
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