RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – The family of Hunter Brittain spoke out following a special prosecutor’s decision to charge the former Lonoke County deputy Sgt. Michael Davis with manslaughter for the 17-year-old’s death.
On Friday, about 50 people packed a Russellville courtroom as they awaited the final decision. A sigh of relief from Brittain’s friends and family could be heard following the announcement of the charge.
“He will be charged with manslaughter—manslaughter is a C felony, special prosecutor Jeff Phillips announced. “It carries with it three to 10 years; the allegation is that in the morning in question he acted recklessly in his behavior.”
Brittain’s grandmother Rebecca Payne also spoke out following the prosecutor’s announcement, saying that she feels that the family is one step closer to getting justice.
“They have fought so hard with us to get justice for Hunter. We are one step closer to getting that done so we are happy with that,” Payne said.
Brittain’s uncle Jesse Brittain said the family is thankful of the charges.
“We are thankful that he’s been charged and won’t mistakenly kill any more kids,” Jesse Brittain said.
On June 23, Davis stopped Brittain in the parking lot of an auto body shop off Highway 89 just around 3 p.m. According to Davis, Brittain got out of his truck and then “got something out of the back” before approaching the deputy. That was when Davis said he shot Brittain, who died later that day from his injuries.
While Hunter’s family said they believe Davis facing charges is a start, they feel like that alone is not enough. Brittain’s cousin Wendy Lindsey doesn’t believe the manslaughter charge was enough.
“I think it was murder. He murdered him,” Lindsey said.
The family is also continuing to push for Hunter’s Law, a proposed measure that would require law enforcement officers to keep their body cameras on at all times while on duty.
The family has joined with others, including the family of George Floyd, to meet with lawmakers pushing these types of measures.
Davis surrendered to the Arkansas State Police Friday and is currently in custody at an undisclosed county jail. He is expected to be in front of a judge Monday for a bond hearing.