An Arkansas man has been arrested after failing to comply with a local police officer, but he says he did so because he was afraid for his life.
The incident occurred in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, at a closed Double Quick convenience store. Ed Truitt met family there to head back home to Jonesboro, Arkansas, this past weekend. He told WREQ he was parked at the store just after 3 a.m. Sunday, May 26. But his Facebook Live stream of the police encounter showed things began around 11:50 p.m. Saturday night.
“As we were leaving out, a car jumped in front of me, so I hit my brakes to let them go by,” Truitt tells the news outlet.
He also said he was trying to leave the parking lot but police cars began showing up. Officers demanded everyone clear the lot and he was blocked in. Things escalated from that point on.
Once an officer approaches, that’s when Truitt’s stream picks up.
“I started rolling because he jumped out with his gun,” Truitt told the local news.
“Shut the car off!” the unidentified officer shouted repeatedly in the video as he shined a bright flashlight into the vehicle.
“No, my hand’s in the air. My hand’s in the air.” Truitt said repeatedly, his hand outside the open window of the car and the other filming on his cell phone. “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,” said the officer after earlier stating he wouldn’t shoot Truitt but still pointing his gun into the car. He also stated he was filming too, later noting he had a body camera. “You were told to leave the parking lot.”
“I was leaving the parking lot… How did I come back?” Truitt asked in response. He continued to refuse to get out the vehicle and repeatedly asked a person who was off-camera to put the car in park, not wanting to take 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 of why he didn’t listen to the officer’s demands.
During a portion of the confrontation, Truitt acknowledged he does have a gun but it was not in reach.
The officer pushed Truitt’s hands back against the car as he remained inside the vehicle. He put handcuffs around Truitt’s wrist in the process. Finally, the officer reaches through the open window and unlocks the car from the inside. He then forced Truitt out of the car and that’s when Truitt drops his phone.
“Get out the f–king car!” the officer is heard shouting. “Get out the car! Turn over!”
Truitt is heard stating the gun is his and is registered.
“What I did saved my life,” he told the news station. “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 was arrested for loitering and disregarding an official order. Meanwhile, the officer has been faced with threats, the news station reported, noting he was off duty Sunday.
Currently, Helena-West Helena Police are reviewing body camera footage and collecting statements from the police involved. The police chief says that if any policy violations are discovered they’ll be dealt with.