LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton and an attorney for George Floyd’s family are speaking at the memorial Tuesday for a white Arkansas teenager shot dead by a deputy, a case that civil rights activists say highlights the need for interracial support to address police shootings.
Seventeen-year-old Hunter Brittain was shot and killed by a Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Michael Davis, during a traffic stop June 23 near Cabot, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock.
Brittain’s memorial at Beebe High School in Beebe will also feature remarks by Ben Crump who — along with another Floyd family attorney, Devon Jacob — is representing Brittain’s family. Floyd died in May last year when a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin the handcuffed Black man’s neck to the ground.
Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley last week fired Davis for not turning on his body camera until after he had shot Brittain. Staley said the only footage police have is from the aftermath. Arkansas State Police are investigating Brittain’s death.
The shooting in predominantly white Lonoke County drew the attention of Sharpton and other civil rights activists and follows nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice last year. Davis is white.
A release by the National Action Network, which was founded by Sharpton, said the civil rights leader planned to “highlight the need for inter-racial support against police brutality in America” with his eulogy.
Authorities have released few details about the shooting. Brittain’s family has said the teenager was unarmed and was holding a jug of antifreeze when he was shot. Brittian’s family and friends have held protests nightly outside the Lonoke County sheriff’s office and have complained about the lack of information released.
Staley on Monday said he welcomed those who want to peacefully protest, but that out-of-state activists could risk “inflaming an already difficult situation.”
“The people of this county are good, decent people and they, like me, want to see accountability and transparency in this situation,” Staley wrote on the office’s Facebook page.