Michael Davis, at left, who was convicted by an Arkansas jury on Friday of negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, in the June 2020 fatal shooting of teenager Noah Hunter Brittain. Photo via Facebook page of Lonoke County Sheriff's Office.
March 18 (UPI) -- A jury in Arkansas on Friday convicted a former deputy sheriff of negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, in the shooting death of 17-year-old Noah Hunter Brittain following a June 2021 traffic stop in the city of Cabot.
Michael Davis, the former deputy for Lonoke County, was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Davis testified that he had ordered Brittain to show his hands during the traffic stop but that the teen instead reached into the back of a truck, leading Davis to testify that it looked "100% like he was reaching for a rifle."
The special prosecutor in the case, Jeffrey Phillips, had filed a charge of involuntary manslaughter, a felony that Phillips said carried three to 10 years in jail. At a news conference in September announcing the arrest, Phillips said that Davis "acted recklessly in his behavior when he discharged his firearm."
Brittain was riding in his pickup truck with his best friend, Jordan King, who witnessed the shooting and who testified for the prosecution.
"We wanted that felony charge," Rebecca Payne, Brittain's grandmother, said after the sentencing.
Corporal Gregg P. Bray, a special agent with the Arkansas State Police, said in a sworn affidavit for the arrest warrant that "Davis fired one round from his county-issued firearm striking Brittain in the lower right neck. "
Brittain died later at a local hospital.
Davis is one of five Arkansas law enforcement officers who have been charged in an on-duty shooting since 2005, according to data compiled by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Public Database. He is the first to be convicted by a jury.