Attorney says school police ‘overreacted’ by shooting man who had a BB gun

Attorney says school police ‘overreacted’ by shooting man who had a BB gun

  • Story Highlights
  • A 20-year-old was shot outside a school last week.
  • He had a BB gun, police said.
  • The man’s attorney says police overreacted.

An local attorney says school police didn’t have to shoot his client last week outside an Atlanta public school.

Officials at Forrest Hill Academy shot D’Tavius L’quon Patterson after realizing he was armed and trying to enter the building, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Patterson was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where his mother says he still is recovering.

"I believe police overreacted that day," attorney Will Arnold told Channel 2 Action News.

Patterson’s mother agreed, saying her son wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. Instead, she told the news station, Patterson meant to pose for a photo with his BB gun on the basketball court.

“It was later determined during the crime scene examination that the subject’s weapon was a BB gun,” Miles said.

The 20-year-old graduated from Forrest Hill Academy and was home from college at the time of the shooting, Arnold said.

The weapon authorities say D'Tavius Patterson had near Forrest Hill Academy. (Credit: GBI)

Arnold said his client had a BB gun, but did not have it in his hand when was he shot.

"My client is adamant that while he was on the way to the store, a police car swerved in front of him, an officer exited the car and while my client was attempting to get down on the ground, he did not have a weapon in his hand, and he was shot," Arnold told Channel 2.

The GBI is investigating the shooting and Miles said they want to get both sides of the story.

Part of the problem, Arnold said, is the defense doesn’t have a copy of any body cam or surveillance video.

"We do have some surveillance video,” Miles confirmed. “The Atlanta Public School Police Department, they don't have body cam or dash cam video."

Miles said GBI investigators can coordinate through the lawyers to show surveillance video to Arnold and the family. She said the investigation is still in the early stages and should take about 90 days.

Meanwhile, Patterson is charged with having a weapon on school property.

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