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Officer cleared in shooting faces indictment!


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  • Officer cleared in shooting faces indictment!

    Fulton may indict officer
    D.A. plans to seek murder charge in death during scuffle

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he will ask a grand jury to indict a police officer for murder in the death of man he was trying to arrest in College Park.

    Last March, Officer Albert Garrett Sr. shot Derrick Fernando Brown, 35, during a scuffle, according to a police report. Brown punched the officer in the face, knocking off his glasses, police said. He then picked up Garrett's flashlight during the struggle and tried to hit him with it, saying "he was not going to jail," according to the report.

    The report said Garrett then shot Brown.

    There were no other witnesses to the shooting, but Howard said Friday that an extensive forensic investigation showed Garrett's life was not in danger when he shot Brown.

    College Park Police Chief Gary Yandura said an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the South Metro Critical Incident Team, an eight-member panel composed of officers from five south Fulton cities, cleared Garrett of wrongdoing.

    "We covered ourselves, but I think its better to have a second opinion and a second party review," Yandura said before Howard's decision. "We want to make sure the officer was right in what he did."

    Attempts to reach Yandura or Garrett for comment Friday were unsuccessful. GBI spokesman John Bankhead said the agency doesn't recommend whether to charge an officer criminally when it investigates police shootings but just presents the facts.

    "That is solely the D.A.'s call," he said. "We can't be prosecutor and investigator."

    Howard said he would convene a grand jury on April 18 to hear only the Garrett case, and he expected to call a dozen witnesses to explain why the shooting wasn't self defense.

    Usually indictments are foregone conclusions, because typically grand juries only hear the prosecution's side of a case. But as a police officer, Garrett has the right to testify at the proceeding to try head off an indictment. In 1996, a grand jury declined to indict two Atlanta police officers involved in the killing of an unarmed man and the wounding of another man during a bad arrest in the infamous Moto Cycles shop case in 1995. The city paid $1.4 million to settle the lawsuit that arose from the case

    "It is an advantage to the police officer," Howard said. "He gets a chance to make a statement and we cannot cross examine him about his statement so he can say anything he wants."

    Garrett pulled over Brown and another person in a 1994 Isuzu Rodeo in the early hours of March 3, 2002. The two men, who had been drinking at a 40th birthday celebration for Brown's sister, fled on foot into woods, with Garrett in pursuit.

    Howard said three private forensic experts examined such issues as the angle of the bullet, intoxication and lighting and compared those reports with Garrett's three statements on the shooting. Howard said he also would ask grand jurors to study the statements for inconsistencies.

    "In many cases, our best witnesses are dead bodies," Howard said.

    The case didn't elicit the public outcry of the case involving the shooting of Corey Ward, an Atlanta teenager, by Atlanta police officer Raymond Bunn. The investigation of the Ward shooting -- in which bullet angles also play an important role -- isn't done, Howard said.

    Personally, I'm outraged by this and will be contacting the Fulton County D.A.'s office. In case anyone else wants to do the same:

    Fulton County District Attorneys Office
    136 Pryor Street, SW, Third Floor
    Atlanta, GA 30303
    Phone: (404) 730-4981 Fax: (404) 730-4785
    Customer Service (404) 730-4887
    email: [email protected]
    No cops, know anarchy.

    "He aint finna come all up in my house and act a fool and be gettin away with it cause I will go smooth off." -Movista

  • #2
    This sounds like a DA grandstanding to me.

    My shooting was presented to the Grand Jury, but that was a matter of procedure. Most police shootings in Dallas County are presented to the grand jury also. But there it is a matter of procedure too. In my case and in Dallas County, the effort is not true bill an officer, the effort is to have an independant group of civilians make a criminal decision about the shooting.

    I didn't testify at my grand jury hearing. I didn't believe there was a need to. They had my report and the investigative reports.

    [ 03-22-2003, 09:25 AM: Message edited by: Evnings ]
    RADAR is the 8th wonder of the world.


    • #3
      Man, these kind of things really bother me! The DA and others can sit there second guess, and review everything for hours, days, weeks, etc to decide what this Officer had to decide in seconds!

      I know I was not there and I don't like to speculate but what ever happened the the reasonable belief and Officer's perception that he was about to suffer grevious bodily injury or death!

      I go back to the King County Deputy who was killed here about one year ago. Naked, Crack crazed, ex-con is causing a public disturbance in the middle of a city street in the middle of the day. Deputy confronts said turd and sprays him with OC, no effect. Turd attacks Deputy, disarms him and executes him, unloading his firearm into him, in the middle of the street in front of numerous citizens.

      From what I gather out of this post this Officer had already suffered an assault and the now dead turd had armed himself with a deadly weapon.

      Making a "judgement" here it appears the officer was in fear of a serious injury or death from attack.

      I feel the DA should take the ruling of the GBI and review board and leave it as is. I see DA grandstanding here too!

      The Moral Majority is.......neither!!


      • #4
        The OIS my dept. had around 12 or 13 year ago thankfully went OK for the LEO from my PD.

        This job is hard enough at times without things like this occurring to LEO's.

        I will keep Off. Garrett in my prayers.

        [ 03-22-2003, 01:01 PM: Message edited by: CodeZeroOn1 ]
        All Units Code Zero on one, Code Zero on one...all non-emergency traffic go to TAC-2


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