Michael Davis, Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy was convicted of negligent homicide after he killed 17-year-old Hunter Brittain during a deadly traffic stop. He was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Originally Davis was charged with felony manslaughter on September 17 following 17-year-old Hunter Brittain’s death.
Negligent homicide is a misdemeanor, but special prosecutor Jeff Phillips of the 5th Judicial District and Hunter Brittain’s family wanted to see Michael Davis convicted of a felony. The family is hoping that Davis is never allowed to work in law enforcement again but fears that he will return to the force after his release.
“Now what’s going to happen? Are people going to have to fear for their lives again?” Brittain’s grandmother, Rebecca Payne said.
“We were willing to let him go for a long probation, but we wanted that felony. He (Hunter) will never be forgotten. He meant a lot to us. We are not going to forget about him ever,” Rebecca Payne, the grandmother who raised Hunter said after the sentencing. Hunter Brittain’s uncle said, “It is what it is. We don’t like it, but we accept it”.
Michael Davis is 1 of only 5 Arkansas law enforcement officers to be charged for a shooting death since 2005. According to data collected by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Public Database. He is the first to be convicted by a jury.
Michael Davis testified that the fatal shooting that led to Hunter Brittain’s death happened after a traffic stop where he had ordered Brittain to show his hands. He said that the teenager instead reached into the back of a truck, leading Davis to testify that it looked “100% like he was reaching for a rifle”.
“Davis fired one round from his county-issued firearm striking Brittain in the lower right neck, ” Corporal Gregg P. Bray said in an affidavit. Jeffrey Phillips, the prosecutor assigned to the case filed felony involuntary manslaughter charges in September saying that the charge would carry 10 years in jail. At sentencing, Michael Davis was only sentenced to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The family was told not to talk to media but they did gather outside to talk about Hunter Brittain being in Heave3n and how they miss him.
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