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Former Sheriff's Deputy Gets One-Year Sentence In Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Teen

A jury found former Lonoke County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Davis guilty of negligent homicide for the shooting death of unarmed teen Hunter Brittain.

By Gina Tron
Hunter Brittain Ap

A former Arkansas sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to serve a year behind bars for the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy.

A jury found former Lonoke County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Davis not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of negligent homicide for the June death of Hunter Brittain, Arkansas Online reported on Friday. Negligent homicide is a misdemeanor charge which carries a maximum of one year and a $1,000 fine; Davis received both. 

He had been charged with manslaughter in September — three months after Brittain was shot to death during an early morning traffic stop. 

Davis had pulled Brittain and a fellow teenage passenger over as they were testing out their work on the transmission of a truck they were fixing; the two were taking the truck for a test drive at the time of the shooting, the Democratic Gazette reported last year.

As they were being pulled over, the truck began smoking. The two teens then exited the vehicle, and it began to roll backward. Brittain reached into the back of his truck to grab a bottle of antifreeze when Davis shot him. The ex-deputy later told investigators he was not sure what was in Davis’ hands but did see him clearly drop antifreeze after he shot him. Attorneys for Brittain’s family had claimed that he grabbed the bottle antifreeze to place behind one of the truck’s tires to stop it from rolling. 

Brittain shot in both the neck and arm, ABC 7 had reported. There were no drugs or alcohol in his system. Davis had told investigators that the teen had failed to comply with his orders to show his hands but the passenger said that Davis never told them to show their hands, the Associated Press reported.

The case gained national attention after civil-rights activists, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, spoke at Brittain’s funeral in July, according to Arkansas Online. Lawyer Benjamin Crump, who has represented family members of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other high profile victims of police shootings, was also retained by the teen’s family.

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