Little Rock police have released video and audio recordings that
detail the moments before an officer fatally shot a 28-year-old man as
he sped toward a brick wall last fall.
The recordings reveal new information in the October death of James
Hartsfield, who was shot by Little Rock officer Brittany Gunn before the
2004 Mercedes-Benz he was driving smashed through a brick wall outside
the Prospect Building at 1501 N. University Ave.
Police said Gunn was working off-duty in the early hours of Oct. 7
when she encountered Hartsfield, who appeared to be drinking an
alcoholic beverage while driving. According to the department,
Hartsfield refused to follow Gunn’s orders, struggled with officers and
then sped forward with Gunn still inside the car.
Dashboard camera video shows the struggle before the shooting and the immediate aftermath of the car crash.
One video shows officer Nicholas Smith running to assist Gunn as she struggles with Hartsfield inside the Mercedes-Benz.
“What part of that don’t you f**king understand?” she says to Hartsfield as Smith gets to the vehicle.
Hartsfield says he does not want to go to jail.
“The f**k you going,” Gunn replies.
Both officers continue to struggle with him.
Gunn can be heard threatening to shoot Hartsfield.
“Please don’t shoot me,” Hartsfield says.
The struggle continues and Smith is seen on the video trying to pull Hartsfield out of the car through the driver’s door.
Then, with Gunn in the passenger seat, the car jerks forward and then
moves off camera. Within moments, three shots ring out, followed
seconds later by the sound of a crash in the distance, according to the
Gunn told authorities she pulled her firearm and told Hartsfield to
stop resisting or she would shoot him, according to the case file. The
threat did not work, so she re-holstered the firearm and grabbed her
Taser, the case report said.
“Officer Gunn stated that she attempted to ‘drive stun’ him but the
Taser seemed to have no effect on him,” according to the case report.