Lawyers for the family of Hunter Brittain announced today the filing of a federal lawsuit against Lonoke Sheriff John Staley and Michael Davis, the former Lonoke County deputy who’s been convicted of negligent homicide for fatally shooting Brittain during a traffic stop last year.
The suit, which you can read here, also names Lonoke deputy Nathan Rice as a defendant. He arrived to assist Davis after the stop was made. Davis shot Brittain after he reached in the back of his truck for a container of antifreeze to chock a wheel so it wouldn’t roll into the deputy’s patrol car.
Personal injury attorneys Ben Crump and Devon M. Jacob filed the lawsuit and they issued this statement:
“With the lawsuit filed today against former deputy Michael Davis and Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley, we move one step closer to achieving justice for Hunter Brittain, his family, and for the other two boys who are forever traumatized by this tragedy.
“Not only was Hunter unarmed, complying, and posing no threat to the deputy, he was in fact trying to protect him by grabbing a bottle of antifreeze to put behind the wheel of his truck so it wouldn’t roll back into the deputy. Without warning or cause, Davis fired a shot into the 17-year-old’s neck, killing him. The failures of former deputy Davis and the Lonoke County Sheriff are extensive, disturbing, and directly caused the tragic and preventable death of Hunter Brittain.
“Hunter’s family had dreams of watching him attend prom, graduate, and go on to pursue a career with Nascar. Now, they cling to their fight for justice and accountability. It is our endeavor to help them get it.”
Staley is sued both personally and in his individual capacity. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and, if successful, the county is the likeliest source of money to satisfy a judgment.
Davis was sentenced to a year on his conviction, which he is appealing.