NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A prosecuting attorney's office says three Arkansas police officers have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old earlier this year.
The fatal shooting of Charles Smith Jr. occurred Jan. 7 during a traffic stop in North Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Smith was a rear-seat passenger in the car that was pulled over for speeding and a headlight violation.
North Little Rock Police Chief Mike Davis said officers expressed concern about the driver's uneasiness. They later found a gun and a small marijuana bag on Smith during a pat-down search.
A dashcam video released by the department shows Smith firing the handgun at officers before he was shot. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
Days after the shooting, Davis said he hoped that releasing the video would dispel "misinformation" that Smith was unarmed during the confrontation.
"Since the incident, a great deal of erroneous information has appeared on social media outlets. ... I want to make sure we clear that up today," Davis said at a news conference.
Police said officers Cody Stroud, Samantha Thompson and John Blankenship all fired their weapons at Smith.
John Johnson is the chief deputy prosecuting attorney at the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. He said the office found the officers' use of deadly force to be justified.
"It certainly corroborated the statements of the police officers," Johnson said of the dashcam video.
A police spokeswoman said the officers have returned to work.