LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- With the recent official cause of death for a Jonesboro man who was shot in the back of a Jonesboro police car, his family's attorney is asking for more information from police.
Below, The Cochran Firm released this press release:
In Wake of Release of Chavis Carter Autopsy Findings, Cochran Calls for Police Cooperation
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - With today's autopsy report release and the recent release of incomplete dashboard video footage regarding the death of Chavis Carter, The Cochran Firm, representing the Carter family, has called for Jonesboro Police to provide full access to information - including the full unedited dashboard camera video and all audio.
On July 28, Chavis Carter was taken into police custody following a traffic stop. In what Jonesboro Arkansas Police Chief Michael Yates admitted was a "bizarre" incident, Chavis lost his life while he was under the care and protection of the Jonesboro Police Department.
The medical findings of the autopsy report say Carter died of a gunshot wound to the head. The report indicates that the conclusion that the manner of death was suicide "is based on both autopsy findings and the investigative conclusions of the Jonesboro Police Department."
"In reading the report, it seems the medical opinion determining the suicide is based largely on the investigative conclusions of the Jonesboro Police Department, which have come into question," Cochran Firm Managing Partner Benjamin Irwin said. "We know Chavis died of a gunshot wound to the head, which is addressed in the report. What the Carter family deserves to know is why."
The basis for conclusions derived by the police investigation are unclear. Man of the questions regarding the origins of the gun and how someone could die while in police custody after being searched twice remain unanswered.
Irwin hopes the mystery can be cleared up with greater cooperation from the Jonesboro Police Department.
"It is time for the Carter family and their representatives to have full access to the evidence in this case, including more details about the events immediately surrounding when Chavis Carter lost his life." Irwin said. "For instance, was gunpowder residue found on anyone? If so, when? The events of July 28 seem to display an incredible degree of negligence by the Jonesboro Police Department. It is essential that the department answer how a young man can suffer a fatal gunshot wound while in police custody."
Despite today's release of the autopsy findings, and the Jonesboro Police Department's release of a significantly edited video of the traffic stop, none of this information clarifies what happened in the back seat of the police cruiser where Chavis lost his life.
"We all want to know exactly what happened that led to this tragedy," Irwin said. "There remain at least three minutes of video that are missing from the footage released by the Jonesboro Police Department. During this time, it is alleged that Chavis lost his life, and we all need to know what happened during those three minutes."
The Cochran Firm also points to missing audio from other portions of the video in which statements cannot be heard.
"There are so many pieces of information still missing," Irwin said. "You would think the Jonesboro Police Department would support a full and unbiased investigation and provide any information that could help the Carter family and this community understand the facts surrounding the death of Chavis Carter."