Family appeals to Cobb officials to release video from fatal police shooting

A protester holds two signs during a protest on the square over the recent Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, held Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
A protester holds two signs during a protest on the square over the recent Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, held Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: John Amis

Credit: John Amis

The family, friends and teachers of a 17-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a Cobb police officer in July pressed county officials for answers about his death during a Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night.

Vincent Truitt was shot twice in the back on July 13 and died from his injuries, according to an autopsy by the Cobb medical examiner.

Truitt’s grandmother, Deborah Howard, said she could not stop crying over the loss of her firstborn grandchild. She recalled growing up in Atlanta at a time when Black people “had no business” going to Cobb County, suggesting not much has changed.

“I’m hurt, I’m disappointed, and yes, I am angry," she said. "My life will never be the same because of the callous, trigger-happy antics of a police officer who apparently sought to shoot down a child in cold blood without following protocol or procedures.”

She and others call for the police department to release the body and dashboard camera footage, and respond to questions about the identity and employment status of the officer who shot Truitt. They also called for the officer to face charges.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating Truitt’s death, while the Cobb Police Department has remained silent. In response to a series of questions from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a police spokesperson referred a reporter to a three-month-old GBI press release that referenced an unidentified male in “critical condition,” apparently a reference to Truitt.

A spokesperson for GBI said that agency was investigating Truitt’s death, which was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, at the request of the Cobb County Police Department.

“The case will be provided to the Cobb County DA’s Office for next steps very soon,” Nelly Miles of GBI wrote in an email.

Kim Isaza, the spokesperson for Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes, said Holmes met with the family earlier this month.

“Once the completed investigative file is turned over to our office, we will be able to make arrangements for the family to review the video,” she wrote in an email. “Any decisions regarding the family’s review of the video prior to that time is at the discretion of the GBI."

Miles, the spokesperson for GBI, implied the decision to grant the family access to the video was a joint one.

“We cannot speak for other departments, but GBI confers with the local district attorney’s office before showing any video to family members or releasing video to the public,” she wrote. She declined a request to clarify which agency held final authority to release the video to the family.

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