An autopsy report out on Monday calling an Arkansas man's gunshot death while in police custody a suicide is so unlikely, it's no surprise many people don't believe it. As The Associated Press' Jeannie Nuss reports, the autopsy from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory found that Chavis Carter, while handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police cruiser, put a gun to his right temple and fired. According to Nuss, who has the most thorough coverage of the report so far, police say they searched Carter twice during his arrest in Jonesboro on July 29, finding a small amount of marijuana but no weapon. According to the report, "he was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon, and despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head."
As skepticism over Carter's death grew last week and Atlanta Voice columnist Lekan Oguntoyinbo called him "The Next Trayvon Martin," police made a couple of attempts to paint the death as a suicide, which reporter Christine Hauser documented on The New York Times' Lede blog. First, they released a video of a police officer in handcuffs sitting in the back of a police car and bringing a gun to his head, to demonstrate such a movement was possible. Then, they released dashboard camera footage documenting the arrest. They also released additional footage from after Carter was found, Nuss reports, but "neither included the moment they say Carter shot himself, and the footage did little to resolve questions about how the shooting could have happened." Commenters on The AP's story at The Grio, a leading African American news site, remained unconvinced: "This just doesn't make sense...where did the gun come from??" wrote one. "Despite the coroner's report I still find this hard to believe," wrote another, echoing the general sentiment on the board. The FBI says it is monitoring the situation, but it hasn't yet gotten involved. Meanwhile, you can watch the police reenactment of Carter's alleged suicide, below.