Too often we have seen the stories of unarmed Black men and women unnecessarily gunned down during a traffic stop. Edrick Truitt could have been another victim of circumstance, but his quick thinking led him to be spared.
The entire incident, which was caught on tape, involved a Helena-West Helena, Ark. police officer aggressively pointing a gun in the face of Truitt, who was confused and fearing for his life. The commotion can be heard in the clip below, where Truitt kept his hands up throughout the entire ordeal.
“Shut your car off,” the officer demanded to which Truitt reply, “What did I do wrong, officer?”
Truitt spoke with WREG giving details about the encounter. He was pulling out of a Double Quick store around 3 a.m. after meeting with family members. As he proceeded to back out of the parking lot, a car cut in front of him, hitting his brakes to allow the car to go by. It was then that he was blocked by police cars before he could pull off and things escalated from there.
“I played it safe and then he was like, ‘that’s failure to comply,’ but if I were to comply, I would have got killed,” Truitt said.
While Truitt had a gun in the car, it is legally-owned and out of reach from the officer.
“What I did saved my life,” he said. “That’s why I’m here talking to y’all. If not, y’all would be covering a story about how I got shot.”
Truitt was arrested for loitering and disregarding an official order. The officer in question is currently on leave as the police department will be looking into the body cameras and officer statements, according to the police chief.