By Jeannie Nuss Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An autopsy report released Monday lists the death of a man shot in the head while his hands were cuffed behind him in an Arkansas patrol car as a suicide.
The state crime lab report, signed by three medical examiners, said the muzzle of a gun was placed against the right side of 21-year-old Chavis Carter’s head when it was fired. Jonesboro police released the report to The Associated Press and other news organizations under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The report said the manner of death was ruled a suicide based on autopsy findings and investigative conclusions from the Jonesboro police department.
“He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon, and despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head,” the report says.
Police have said officers frisked Carter twice after a traffic stop without finding a gun before he was fatally shot July 28.
The autopsy report comes days after police released video recorded the night Carter was shot in Jonesboro, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock. Part of the video showed Carter being patted down and ended before officers found Carter slumped over and bleeding in the back of a patrol car as was described in a police report. Police later released additional video they said came after Carter was found.
Carter’s death came after police stopped a truck in which he was riding. The driver and another passenger eventually were allowed to go, but police said Carter had an outstanding arrest warrant. Court records show it had to do with a drug charge out of Mississippi’s DeSoto County.
Carter was searched twice and police said they found a small amount of marijuana, but no gun.
After the first search, an officer put Carter into a patrol car without handcuffing him. He was later searched again, handcuffed and returned to the same car.
Officers a short time later saw Carter slumped over in the backseat and covered in blood, according to the report, which concluded he had managed to conceal a handgun with which he shot himself. He later died at a hospital, and the report listed his death as a suicide.