Tonight on AC360:  Handcuffed suicide or homicide?
Family photo
August 9th, 2012
06:57 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Handcuffed suicide or homicide?

In Jonesboro, Arkansas, there are some troubling questions about the death of young man two weeks ago.

21-year-old Chavis Carter died after being shot in the head while sitting in the back of a police car. Carter's arms were handcuffed behind his back.

Police say Carter pulled the trigger and killed himself.

"Quite frankly, I've seen some of our people in custody do some amazing things," Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates told CNN's Randi Kaye.

Carter's family doesn't buy it. His mother believes police killed her son.

Tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, Randi tells us what she discovered about that night in question on an Arkansas road. Did police miss a gun that Carter had on him or is there more to this story?

Update: Watch tonight's report:

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Giovanni

    There have been several documented cases of prisoners shooting themselves in the head while in handcuffs, There was a case in Indianapolis in the 80's, Micheal Taylor a 16 yo shot himself while cuffed in the back of a police cruiser. The Indianapolis Police Dept filmed several recruits that they placed in cuffs and put into a police car that were able to retreive a handgun hidden in their sock and place it against there temple.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  2. Mark Smith

    If a cop kills a black man, he gets away. If a black man kills a black man, nobody cares. If a Black man kills a white person he gets the death penalty. If a white man kills unarmed women and kids in a shooting spree he is mentally ill and cannot stand trail and spared the death penalty. The familys should be able to beat the shooters daily so they can feel pain for the rest of their lives similar to the pain the familys feel. As far as the baby killers, we have to make an example of them with special circumstance prosecution which includes daily torture similar to what they were charged for. We have to make the skum second guess the criminal acts before they commit them by changing punishments handed down for convictions. The guilty parties are getting three meals a day and AC, sometimes even book deals.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:16 am |
  3. dumbneasy

    I disagree. I'm going to supose the officer did not search young gangster, Chavis Carter all that well before putting him in the patrol car with his hands free the first time. It was a routine stop and Carter was merely being detained. In knowing he was going to be going to jail before the officers, and being so lucky that they had not found the gun during the first search, he unloaded his cargo, and my guess is between the seat and the door post where it would not be easily seen by the officer. Carter knew he was going to be arrested and knew he would be pulled out of the patrol car, told he was under arrest, read his rights, handcuffed and stuffed back in the patrol car. And he was.
    We don't know if his hands were cuffed behind him and he was able to manuever his hands to the front, or not. But either way he would have to reach to his right to get the gun. If his hands were behind him his right hand would be dominate in his position to grab the gun. If his hands were in front of him he would still use his right hand to effectively grab the gun stuffed down between the seat and the door because his left hand would be backwards to the gun.
    So I say, it's entirely possible he shot himself, and with his right hand. But more importantly, none of us should be jumping to such definitive conclusions until we know more.

    August 10, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  4. Bill Lewis

    Okay, so I have heard about some pretty flexible people I guess, but come on do they really expect us to believe this? Lets put aside for a second that he would need to be able to move his joints in ways most people can and consider the other fairly obvious question...where did he get the gun? If he was in the back of the squad car it can be assumed based on common sense (not to mention every show like cops I've ever seen) that he was searched – or at the very least patted down – before being put in. Are you telling me that the cops didn't notice that he had a gun within reach of his cuffed hands? That seems like pretty shoddy police work if it is in fact true.

    In my experience the most likely scenario is usually the correct one. So which is more likely: A handcuffed man in the back of a police car somehow stretches his arms to allow him to get the gun that was missed by police officers and put it at an angle to shoot himself in the head; or, the arresting officer went off the handle for some reason and ended up putting a bullet in his brain and is now hoping the blue curtain of silence will protect him.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  5. Alicia

    So many young black men are dying every day all around this country and no one seems to care. This is a tragedy, but one that needs to be told.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • westthea

      True, it must be told. Most of the signs indicate Chavis Carter was a marked young man and these small town cops were on the take to kill him and then insert the drop gun, something often done in Afghanistan by US soldiers when they kill some of the Afghanis.

      POLICE REPORT: "a large amount of blood on the front of his shirt, pants, seat and floor. His hands were still cuffed behind his back." This is what the police report says but the media is now saying Chavis’s handcuffed hands were not behind his back. In London, hundreds of black men have died in police custody with the police claiming they choked on their vomit. Same results on both sides of the pond.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |