Gov. Deal frustrates Caroline Small group in controversial police shooting case

Last fall, Caroline Small's family and friends appealed to Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens to ask they take action in the young mother's police shooting death and subsequent questions about a local cover-up in Brunswick, but the lack of response has frustrated them.

Caroline Small, a mother of two young daughters, was shot and killed in 2010 by Glynn County police.

The group, led by Small's mother, Karen McGehee, and her church friends in Tallahassee, asked the governor and attorney general in a letter last November to reopen the 2010 police shooting case and to review the actions of District Attorney Jackie Johnson.

In a follow-up letter earlier this month, the Justice for Caroline Small group says the top state officials have done nothing to respond their appeal.

They also sought a meeting with the two top state officials to discuss the case, but say they haven't even gotten a response that the pair acknowledging their letters.

"We are saddened and frustrated, that you have taken no action," the group wrote Deal and Olens in the Aug. 8 letter. "Moreover, you have not responded to our requests for a meeting to discuss Caroline's case."

The group formed after revelations about the shooting and allegations that prosecutor Johnson mishandled the case were revealed in an AJC/Channel 2 Action News investigation last year. The shooting -- captured on dash cam video that shows eight police bullets exploding across the unarmed mother's windshield -- drew national attention after the news investigation.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation supervisor who oversaw the original case told reporters it was worst police shooting he'd investigated in his career, but Johnson's office failed seek an indictment and she took unusual steps that helped the officers in the grand jury process. A grand jury found their actions justified.

The Small group appears to be running out of options to get what they say was an injustice addressed. They told the AJC on Thursday that it plans to continue pressing ahead with its efforts to draw attention to the case and get a new investigation.

"Caroline's story continues to be very powerful and when we tell that story and when we raise public awareness of what happened to her it has power that continues to amaze me," said Robert Apgar, the group's leader. "It's at the government level where we encounter the silence. It's a deafening silence."

Deal's press secretary Alyssa Botts did not respond to a phone message and email request this week from the AJC to discuss the group's request. In an Aug. 12 email, she said: "What I know is that the letter has been received and it's been in discussion this week. Sorry I couldn't be of more help!"



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About the Author

Brad Schrade
Brad Schrade
Brad Schrade is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the AJC’s investigative team.