MEMPHIS, TN— Reverend Jesse Jackson visited the Mid-South Wednesday to support the Carter family. He held a news conference at Monumental Baptist Church in South Memphis asking for justice for the family.
Chavis Carter is the 21 year old Southaven man who died from a gunshot wound. It happened in the back seat of a Jonesboro police car while he was handcuffed. The Arkansas state crime lab ruled it a suicide. Rev. Jackson wants the FBI and the Department of Justice to get involved in this case. Rev. Jackson says a 1983 Civil Rights Act applies to the Carter case. The law calls for a special prosecutor to hold the Jonesboro Police Department accountable for Carter’s murder.
"He was in police custody and he died in police custody,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said during a news conference. “We know the explanation is unacceptable because it is a Houdini explanation."
The reverend says it's hard to believe the police’s story that Carter killed himself when he was frisked twice, handcuffed, and then 3 minutes of dash cam video is missing during the time of the shooting.
"President Nixon had a gap in his tape. It's not unusual for people who are trying to cover up and have convenient gaps in their tapes. Really it's a gap in the truth,” said Rev. Jackson.
This week Carter's autopsy report was released. It revealed a list of drugs in his system. The medical examiner ruled his death suicide. The family's seen the report and doesn't agree.
"Through the years we've known cases of homicides were called suicides when the murdered person was not going to tell their side of the story and we will not accept these various, rushed to judgment theories by the local officials in Jonesboro to exonerate themselves from their responsibility,” stated Rev. Jackson.
The toxicology report shows Carter had crystal meth, marijuana, and other drugs in his system.
The director of pharmacy at Baptist Women's Hospital, Dr. John Bridges, saw Carter's toxicology report. Dr. Bridges says Carter took prescription drugs that were mainly depressants and can cause several side effects including suicidal thoughts.
“They're all what we call psycho active drugs. They can affect the brain in paradoxical ways to stimulant or depress, can cause mental confusion, cloudiness, and unclearness of thought,” said Dr. Bridges.
Dr. Bridges has been practicing pharmacy for more than 35 years. He says mixing different prescription drugs is dangerous.
"Given alone, these drugs can be used safely and they have appropriate use but when you start mixing drugs such as benzodiazepines and the Vailum, and the Xanax with other drugs like oxycodone both of them are central nervous system depressants, it's a bad combination. When you start combining drugs you don't necessarily know what side effects you will have,” the pharmacist stated.
Dr. Bridges says these drugs are designed to treat anxiety and pain but many people abuse them. He says some of the side effects can lead to depression and even suicide. The Carter's family lawyer disagrees.
"Those were very minimal amounts in the autopsy report and once again I'll report: do you see anything in that video that looked like a man not acting normal? He (Carter) was challenging the officers about the events that were unfolding, he was asking questions. Those were all the normal things you expect to see in someone in that event,” said the family attorney Ben Irwin.
We don't know how long Carter abused these drugs but Dr. Bridges says even the smallest amounts can change someone's behavior.
"You may be taking something and then over a period of time it won't affect you at all except maybe the way that you feel inside but people outside of you may not know you're taking it because of that tolerance,” said Dr. Bridges.
Carter also tested positive for amphethamines. Dr. Bridges says you can find that in Ritalin and Adderrall, all highly addicting.