Helena-West Helena, AR – A man who refused to comply with police commands and was carrying an AR-15 rifle loose in his car on Sunday complained that a police officer pulled a weapon on him for no good reason (video below).
The incident occurred at about 3 a.m. on May 26 when police arrived to clear out the parking lot of a closed Double Quick convenience store, WREG reported.
A cell phone video filmed by Edrick Truitt, before he was arrested, set off a storm of criticism on social media.
In response, the Helena-West Helena Police Department released the officer’s bodycam video just three days later.
The video showed that once police arrived at the Double Quick, some of the cars loitering in the parking lot left immediately, and those that didn’t were detained by the officers.
A Helena-West Helena police officer approached a car driven by Truitt with his weapon drawn and ordered the driver to shut the car off, multiple times.
Instead of complying with police commands, Truitt talked back to the officer while he filmed the encounter on his cell phone live on social media.
“You gonna shoot me?” he asked the officer in an antagonizing tone.
“You gotta gun? Gun!” the officer yelled in the video.
“Where? Where? I got my hands in the air,” Truitt told the officer.
Police found a loaded AR-15 rifle in the backseat of the car, WREG reported.
“Shut your car off!” the officer ordered him three times and the driver continued to ignore the commands, the video showed.
In the video, Truitt said he wasn’t going to move his hands and turn the car off because he thought he officer was looking for an excuse to shoot him.
The officer informed him that their exchange was being captured on bodycam.
But Truitt said he didn’t believe the officer and refused to turn off his vehicle, the video showed.
He repeatedly announced that his hands were in the air while he ignored the officer’s commands in an almost mocking manner.
“All you had to do was drive off,” the officer said in the video, sounding frustrated.
“That’s what I was doing. What was I doing? What was I doing? My hands are in the air. My hands are in the air,” Truitt yelled over and over for the benefit of his Facebook Live audience.
“You tell me to shut my car off so you can shoot me. C’mon now, c’mon now, c’mon now,” Truitt goaded the officer.
Eventually the officer pinned down Truitt’s arm that was sticking out of the car window and put a handcuff on his wrist, the video showed.
Truitt continued to ignore commands to put the car in park and instead argued with the officer.
Eventually, the officer reached into the car and popped the door lock.
Then he opened the door and pulled Truitt out, causing the cell phone to drop to the ground at that point.
Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Smith said that Truitt was arrested and charged with loitering, failure to comply, resisting arrest, and carrying a weapon, WREG reported.
Truitt legally owned the AR-15 in his car, but Chief Smith said he ran afoul of the law when he began driving around with the long gun sitting in his back seat.
Truitt told reporters after he was released that he believed he had saved his own life when he refused to turn off his car because he thought the officer was looking for an excuse to shoot him.
"Played it safe," Truitt said. "He was like, 'That's a failure to comply,' but if I would have complied, I would have got killed."
"What I did saved my life," he told WREG. "That’s why I’m here talking to y'all. If not, y'all would be covering a story about how I got shot."
Truitt has retained attorney Ben Crump to represent him.
Crump is the same attorney that has represented the family of Trayvon Martin, WREG reported.
Watch the driver’s cell phone and police bodycam videos below: