Noah “Hunter” Brittain, a white teen, was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy outside a local auto repair shop in McRae, Arkansas.
Originally dubbed “Black America’s Attorney general” by Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and attorney Ben Crump is now representing Brittain’s case in what he calls "one of the most significant" pushes in the fight for police reform legislation, CNN reported.
Here's what you should know about his case:
Brittain was shot by a deputy during a traffic stop.
On June 23 at approximately 3 a.m., 17-year-old Brittain was 30 miles northeast of Little Rock with a friend when he was stopped by a deputy, later identified as Sgt. Michael Davis, during a traffic stop.
He later died at a local hospital, USA Today reported.
Davis was immediately put on administrative leave pending the police investigation, according to the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. Only days later, July 1, Sheriff John Staley announced in a statement he had fired Davis for violating police policy.
"The people of this county are good, decent people and they, like me, want to see accountability and transparency in this situation," Staley said.
Crump said the fight for justice doesn't just include Black children.
The family of Brittain held his memorial on the afternoon of July 6 at his high school. Both Crump and Sharpton attended the service, during which they both urged the need for support from all races to end mass police shootings.
.@AttorneyCrump, co-counsel Devon Jacob, @TheRevAl, and the family of Hunter Brittain to hold a public memorial service today, 7/6 at 12:30 p.m. CT., in Arkansas for Hunter Brittain. pic.twitter.com/f1towme7lz
— Ben Crump Law, PLLC (@BenCrumpLaw) July 6, 2021
"This isn't just about Black children, it's also about brown children and white children and Asian children," Crump said.
After the Arkansas State Police turned over the investigation on Friday, Crump said he's representing Brittain to help flip the conversation surrounding police violence, which is often framed as a primary issue within the Black community. He said he hopes people will begin to acknowledge this type of violence as an experience all ethnicities are prone to witness.
"[This case] is going to be looked at differently because he wasn't a teenager who was a child of color," Crump previously told CNN. "Because we've always said that our white brothers and sisters couldn't fathom their child being killed by the police. That people are supposed to protect them. But that's a reality that parents of children of color literally deal with every day of their lives."
Hunter Brittain was killed UNJUSTLY by police and his family has STILL not received any details from them about the fatal shooting. We must show the world that Hunter Brittain’s life mattered and demand answers and accountability! #SayHisName #JusticeForHunterBrittain pic.twitter.com/HuxjLXMHbT
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 9, 2021
This is Sharpton's first time advocating for a white victim of police brutality.
Sharpton delivered the eulogy, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
“This young man should have been entering his senior year, not a cemetery,” Sharpton said in his remarks. "The issue of policing is not about Black and White. It's about right and wrong."
Of his 40-year career as an activist, Sharpton said it was his first time invited to speak on the behalf of a white person who was victimized by police.
Brittain was described as being full of life.
According to his obituary listed in Smith Family Funeral Homes, Brittain was loved by his family and friends and had a well-received humorous personality. He spent his free time outdoors, fishing and riding his dirt bikes.
Brittain's case is one of many non-Black teens who've lost their lives to police brutality.
In March, cities across the nation grappled with the gruesome death of Adam Toldeo, a 13-year-old from Little Village, Chicago who was shot and killed by an officer despite complying with orders. Although body-cam footage of the incident was released, the nature of the shooting put into question the little regard officers have shown toward people. It also questions the general police training of minors.
Additionally, Brittain's case expounds upon police violence as a problem seldom recognized in white communities. As Crump is certain, it will help be the force behind the implementation of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill that would address police accountability and remedy police violations. So far it has stalled for months in Senate since March, as Blavity previously reported.
Crump and Devon Jacob, the Brittain family's second attorney, are fighting for that justice.
“Your life had meaning, you’re loved and your family will not stop advocating until we have justice for you, Hunter,” Hunter's uncle Jesse Brittain said. “And also justice for all of our other brothers and sisters dying at the hands of law enforcement hired to protect and serve us around this country.”