Ed Truitt says he had two options when he found himself at the end of an officer's gun barrel: Comply and get killed or disobey and survive.
The young black man faced this dilemma early Sunday morning in the parking lot of an Arkansas convenience store. Law enforcement arrived at the area at around 3 a.m. and began instructing all occupants to clear the lot. Truitt said he attempted to leave, but was unable to do so because he was being blocked by other cars. This is when a white officer approached the vehicle with a gun drawn.
Before he could turn off his car, Truitt immediately pulled out his phone and began recording.
The now-viral video shows the cop pointing his gun in Truitt's direction while shouting instructions to turn off his car. Truitt then asks the officer what he did wrong. Then the situation escalated.
"He’s got a gun!" the officer shouted as other cops stood in the background speaking to others at the scene.
"Where? My hand’s in the air!" Truitt replies. "Come shut the car off, I ain’t moving my hands. He’s trying to shoot me!"
The cop—who has been identified as West Helena Arkansas Police officer Terry "Trey" Daugherty—proceeds to tell Truitt to shut off his car.
"No. I'm not moving. My hand in the air," Truitt replies.
The video then shows Truitt being arrested for loitering and disregarding an official order. But he told WREG he had no regrets about his actions.
"He was like, 'That's a failure to comply,'" he said, "but if I would have complied, I would have got killed [...] What I did saved my life. That’s why I’m here talking to y'all. If not, y'all would be covering a story about how I got shot."
The police department claim they found a gun on the passenger side of Truitt's vehicle. As you can hear in the video above, Truitt tells officers that the firearm is registered in his name.
"The officer had seen a weapon inside the vehicle," Police Chief James Smith told WREG. "There was an assault rifle inside the vehicle."
However, Truitt claims the gun was not within his reach at the time of the confrontation.
The police department says they are now looking into the incident to determine if Daugherty's reaction was appropriate.
"We want to know the facts," Smith said. "What was the officer thinking, why did he pull his weapon, did he feel imminent danger? [...] We don't want this to be a racial thing. We want to make sure this officer did the right thing and that he is accountable for his actions."