TUNICA, MS (abc24.com) - Fighting for justice. A determined DeSoto County mother is not giving up until everyone knows the story of her son.
21-year-old Chavis Carter of Tunica was found dead in the backseat of a Jonesboro, Arkansas police car 2 weeks ago. Police say he shot himself while handcuffed but his family isn't buying it. A second vigil was held in downtown Tunica on Sunday, August 12, 2012. More than 100 people showed up to pay their respects to the family. His mother, Teresa Carter, hired an attorney and says there will be justice for her son.
When abc24.com asked Teresa Carter why she wants her son’s story told she responded, “So it won't happen to anyone else's child."
The message during Sunday night’s vigil: stand together and find answers for the Carter family. The Tunica NAACP says young black men are an endangered species.
"I’m doing a lot of praying,” Carter’s mother said. “I have my moments also but I got to be his voice and I got to stay strong."
Her son was arrested following a traffic stop on July 29, 2012. He had an outstanding warrant for marijuana possession. Jonesboro Police say they searched Carter twice, handcuffed him, and put him in the back of a patrol car. Then somehow Carter was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Family and friend are blaming law enforcement for his death. Teresa Carter says her son wouldn't kill himself, especially if he was handcuffed in the backseat of a police car.
"Law enforcement should be trusted because it is our job to protect our communities and protect this nation,” said the Tunica County Sheriff K.C. Hamp. Carter’s mother invited him to the vigil. “That's what makes this so sensitive when a bad light is shined upon law enforcement."
Now, there's a movement growing nationwide to seek justice for Carter.
“A lot of people have been very supportive, it’s amazing.” Teresa Carter stated. “I've been getting so many phone calls I have to turn off my phone sometimes."
Carter's mother says she wants her son's story to be heard around the world. She says her son was killed like Florida teen, Trayvon Martin.
"Every time you saw him he had a smile. He was a lovable person,” she said.
Teresa Carter says she hasn't heard anything from police or the FBI about her son’s case. There will be another vigil for Chavis Carter Thursday August 23, at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.