Black man says not complying with officer’s demands saved his life
Ed Truitt, who was detained in an Arkansas gas station refused to put his hands down for fear a police officer would claim he was reaching for a gun and shoot him
An Arkansas man who was arrested after refusing to comply with a local police officer says his insubordination may have saved him from a fate far worse than jail.
According to Memphis station WREQ, over the weekend, Ed Truitt was parked outside of a closed Double Quick convenience store in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, when the incident took place. He had met his family there so they could all head back home to Jonesboro, Ark., together, when police arrived on the scene.
“As we were leaving out, a car jumped in front of me, so I hit my brakes to let them go by,” Truitt explains. But when he attempted to leave the parking lot, police cars began showing up. Officers then demanded everyone clear the lot and blocked him in.
“I started rolling because he jumped out with his gun,” Truitt says as to why he immediately began recording his Facebook Live stream of the encounter.
“Shut the car off!” an unidentified officer can be heard shouting repeatedly in the video.
“No, my hand’s in the air. My hand’s in the air.” Truitt responds, with his hand outside the open window of the car. “Shoot me. … My hand’s in the air. … I ain’t moving my hands. He trying to shoot me.”
“You failed to comply with the lawful order,” the officer explains. He also claimed he wouldn’t shoot Truitt, but was still pointing his gun into the car when he did so.
Later, he tells the the man he has his body camera on as well, noting, “You were told to leave the parking lot.”
“I was leaving the parking lot…How did I come back?” Truitt asked in response. He still refused to exit the vehicle and instead asks a person who is off-camera to put the car in park. This was apparently done out of fear of what would happen if he took his hands down.
“He was like, ‘That’s a failure to comply,’ but if I woulda complied, I woulda got killed,” Truitt explained to WREQ, alluding to all the incidents in the past where unarmed Black men have been shot under the premise that they were reaching for a weapon.
A firearm was found in the trunk of Truitt’s car, which he never denied having, but says was not within his reach and was no threat to the officer. He was arrested for loitering but says he would not have done anything differently.
“What I did saved my life,” he believes. “That’s why I’m here talking to y’all. If not, y’all would be covering a story about how I got shot.”