The FBI will “monitor” the investigation into Chavis Carter’s death, the police chief of Jonesboro, Arkansas has confirmed to theGrio. “They have agreed to monitor and we are sharing all our investigative material with them as we conduct the investigation,” Chief Michael Yates told theGrio.
Yates said there were cameras in the patrol cars of the two officers who detained Carter and two companions on July 28th. The other two men were released at the scene just before one of the officers claims he heard a loud bang, that he and a second officer later realized was what they called a self-inflicted gunshot by Carter as he sat in the back of a patrol car.
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The police chief said the dash-cam video (including audio) from the cars of officers Keith Baggett and Ron Marsh would be released “when the investigation is complete,” but added, “that will take some time. We cannot do so right now.”
An autopsy of Carter’s body was being conducted by the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock, but a spokesman for that office said any information from that autopsy could only be released to the controlling prosecutor, Scott Ellington of the Second Judicial District. Ellington has been assigned to the case, despite the fact that at this time, there is no prosecution taking place. Ellington’s office was closed Friday afternoon and he could not be reached for comment.
“A preliminary autopsy may be available soon,” Yates said, but “it could be a long time before a completed autopsy report is available due to toxicology and things like that.”
Baggett’s police report stated that Carter was found with about $10 worth of marijuana on his person.
Members of Jonesboro’s African-American community have raised questions about Yates’ leadership, including his past tenure as the police chief in Americus, Georgia, amid skepticism about the circumstances of Carter’s death.
A vigil is planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday on Haltom Street, where the incident took place.
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