The case of a Union City police officer who fatally shot a black teenager twice in the back went back to a Fulton County grand jury today, more than three years after grand jurors cleared the officer in a process that missed key evidence.
District Attorney Paul Howard in May reopened the 2011 shooting death case of 19-year-old Ariston Waiters following an investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News that raised questions about the shooting and the official version told by police.
Luther Lewis, the Union City officer, claimed the teen went for his gun. But the supervising lieutenant on the scene minutes after the shooting told reporters a different story. The supervisor, Chris McElroy, said that in comments Lewis made right after the shooting, he didn’t mention anything about a struggle for his gun.
McElroy said he was never interviewed by GBI agents during their original investigation of the shooting. He also never testified before the original Fulton grand jury that chose not to indict Lewis after considering the case in May 2012.
Following the AJC/Channel 2 report in May, Howard's office and the GBI reinvestigated the case and seem prepared to call other witnesses who never testified three years ago. McElroy was one of witnesses who showed up today at the Fulton DA's office to testify in the grand jury room. The grand jury proceeding is expected to continue Thursday.
Lewis resigned from the Union City police force in 2014, but the department never conducted an internal review, and his actions the night of the shooting were deemed justified.