Open Thread: Chavis Carter’s Autopsy Ruled A Suicide

21-year-old Chavis Carter. Courtesy The Grio

By Arturo R. García

The way Monday’s autopsy report for 21-year-old Chavis Carter reads, it’s almost as if the medical examiners on the case don’t quite understand their own findings.

“He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon,” the report says. “And despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head,” the report says.

Apparently? How does apparently make its way onto this kind of document?

The autopsy, which surely will not settle the issue, backs up the story police in Jonesboro, Ark., gave after Carter, who was left-handed, was found dead with a gunshot wound to his right temple: that after being searched twice without a weapon being found on him and being handcuffed, that Carter decided to take his own life after being picked up on an outstanding drug warrant last month.

After the story went viral, police had attempted to bolster their case by releasing a bizarre “reenactment” video, followed by dashboard camera footage taken during the traffic stop in question – but the latter only included footage from before and after Carter was found dead.

If anything, I imagine this will only intensify the scrutiny on what happened and how the officers in question couldn’t secure Carter’s safety while in their custody. In the meantime, readers, feel free to share your own thoughts here.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health


Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives


Written by:

  • STaylor in Austin

    I keep hearing that the FBI is supervising this case yet the
    local police and their local Medical Examiner seem to be the only voices we
    hear. It’s been almost a month and no
    other voices other than the yokels who may be responsible for the death are

    The thing that continues to be overlooked and infuriates me is
    Chavis was detained while the white driver and another white passenger were let
    go even though drugs, paraphernalia and a “white power” were found in
    the truck. The cops only arrest the black man and let the whites go.

    I’ve yet to hear any reporter press the local cops on why
    they didn’t detain the whites. This screams racism and this act alone is a
    reason for the local police to be removed from investigating this crime. The
    fact that a handcuffed black man is shot in the head, while the police camera
    mysteriously doesn’t work is why we need the FBI and the US Attorney Generals office running the investigation of this murder

    It doesn’t even need to be said, but if Chavis were white
    and this happened…oh wait, if Chavis were white this probably wouldn’t have

  • nctodc

    Hope the family’s had (or will have) the opportunity to get a private medical examiner to look at the case.

  • Sabina England

    they ruled it as a SUICIDE?? seriously? there are no words to express this absurdity.