In a story that grows more complex by the day, the girlfriend of 21-year-old Chavis Carter, who was fatally shot in the back of an Arkansas police car while handcuffed, told an investigator that he called and told her about the gun, police said on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.
The news came on the same day that the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and the Carter family’s attorney held a news conference in Memphis, Tenn., and called on the Department of Justice and the FBI to conduct a thorough investigation into inconsistencies in the case that has riveted the nation.
On Wednesday, police in Jonesboro, Ark., released the information and several other new details in a four-page statement about the investigation into Carter’s July 28 death.
Carter’s girlfriend also told the investigator that Carter said he loved her and that he was scared, according to the police statement, which did not identify the woman. Phone records showed Carter made two calls, at least one of which was from the back of the patrol car, police said.
Benjamin Irwin, a Memphis, Tenn., lawyer representing Carter’s family, said Wednesday that he was reviewing the latest information from police.
“I think the critical points still remain that this young man was in police custody,” he said. “He lost his life at a time when they had a responsibility and duty to protect him.”
Police have been facing criticism since they said officers searched Carter twice but didn’t find a gun before he was fatally shot in a patrol car. Race is also an issue in the case because Carter was black and police have said the two officers who stopped the truck he was in are white.
The police statement said there appears to be no doubt that an officer missed the gun when he initially patted Carter down.
“It is presumed that Carter secreted the gun in the rear of the car after the pat-down but before the cuffing and second search,” the statement said.