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Hunter Brittain's family to be represented by Ben Crump, questions remain around bodycam footage

The case of Hunter Brittain's death after a Lonoke County deputy killed him a week ago has brought up questions surrounding the deputy's possible body cam footage.

LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. — The case of the Lonoke County teen shot and killed by a deputy a week ago has brought up questions surrounding the deputy's possible body cam footage.

That still has not been released to the public, and the teen's family has yet to see it.

A criminal justice professor and defense attorney talked about the impact the video could play.

"Body cams are a good thing because it increases transparency between the police agency and the public,” said Jim Golden, a criminal justice professor at UA-Little Rock.

But for Hunter Brittain's family, they feel this transparency has been denied after the teen was shot and killed by a Lonoke County deputy last week during a traffic stop.

We know the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office handed over bodycam footage to state police, however, we don't know what parts of the incident were captured.

"I can understand why they are doing some further investigation in regards to a video. However, I do find it quite odd that they are not at least acknowledging that a video of the incident exists,” said Patrick Benka, a Little Rock criminal defense attorney.

Benka has practiced criminal defense for more than 20 years.

He is on the side that believes the Brittain family should have already seen what happened to Hunter.

"It's kind of hypocrisy. There's been shooting incidents here in Arkansas where the tape was released in short order. And in those cases, those officers at least had a defense. It has to be across the board,” said Benka.

Golden has researched the use of body cams, which is a hot topic in his classroom.

He said releasing that evidence too early could jeopardize the investigation.

"That video footage shows one view. There's just a whole lot more questions that have to be answered,” said Golden.

While Golden suggests Hunter Brittain's family be patient and let the investigation play out, Benka sees a lack of consistent transparency within agencies across Arkansas when it comes down to releasing body cam footage.

"It won’t hinder the investigation. It will cause problems for the agency if the tape recording reveals something that shows the officer is untrue or corroborates the family's version,” said Benka.

The family has hired Devon Jacob and Benjamin Crump to represent them. Both were lawyers in George Floyd's murder case.

"We've seen what they've done on TV. We know that they can handle the business that needs to be taken care of here," said Jesse Brittain, Hunter's uncle.

The family knows the process ahead of them is long, but they say they're hopeful Hunter's death will create change.

"One life is too many. I mean it shouldn't have had to happen. But it happened for a reason and we are going to show what that reason was," said Scott Hendrickson.

Arkansas State Police is investigating Hunter Brittain's death.

The Lonoke County Sheriff's Office has also started an internal investigation to determine if the deputy involved, Michael Davis, followed the department’s policy and procedure.

Both cases remain open. Davis remains on administrative leave.