One was a naked veteran wandering through his DeKalb County apartment complex. Another tried to flee in a Maserati from police in Cobb County. A third, handcuffed and in a patrol car, pulled a gun on officers who arrested her near Underground Atlanta.
They were among the 29 people shot and killed by police in Georgia so far this year.
While controversial police shootings around the country have led to greater scrutiny of law enforcement, the number of people killed by police in Georgia was in fact the same as in previous years, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation learned. The annual median death toll since 2010 was 29 deaths.
The AJC will continue to track police shooting deaths in 2016, as lawmakers and law enforcement leaders discuss changes to the way Georgia’s grand jury system works in these cases.
Georgia is the only state in the nation that allows police officers who’ve used deadly force to sit in on the entire grand jury process and make a statement at the end that can not be challenged or questioned by prosecutors.
That system has come under scrutiny this year following a AJC/Channel 2 investigation that found none of the 184 fatal police shootings in Georgia since 2010 resulted in charges against the officer. Prosecutors say in close cases the officer’s special grand jury privileges can make the difference in the outcome.
Many of this year’s cases still have not had been resolved in the judicial system. The following is a tally of those shot and killed so far this year. For more case details, and to learn more about police shootings in Georgia, visit investigations.myajc.com/overtheline.
Dexter Bethea, 42, Lowndes County, on April 9: Shot when police said he drove toward officers in the parking lot of a Valdosta motel. Authorities said Bethea was driving a local drug dealer to the motel to make a drug transaction arranged by undercover officers. Source: Court records.
Freddie Blue, 20, Newton County, on July 10: Police said Blue was one of four men involved in a confrontation with officers after being pulled over. One of the men pointed a gun at the officers, and police returned fire. Source: Media reports.
Brent Andrew Brannon, 27, Bartow County, on Oct. 14: Wanted on drug-trafficking charges, Brannon was shot after police pulled him over for a license plate violation. Police said a Taser failed to immobilize him. Source: Media reports.
Roger Braswell, 50, Decatur County, on July 24: Exchanged gunfire with sheriff’s deputies who arrived at his home after an acquaintance told authorities he had threatened suicide. Source: Media reports.
Alexia Christian, 25, Fulton County, on April 30: Shot when police say she produced a .380-caliber pistol and fired three shots at officers while handcuffed and seated in the back of a police car outside Underground Atlanta. Was being arrested for theft of a work truck. A gunshot residue test suggested a gun had been fired from her right hand. Source: Police reports.
Matthew Coleman, 25, Effingham County, on Nov. 13: Police said Coleman exchanged gunfire with deputies who sought him in connection with an armed robbery. A deputy was wounded in the shoulder. Source: Media reports.
Tyrie Cuyler, 25, Chatham County, on Oct. 27: Shot after police said he produced a gun and wounded two officers who had pulled over his car. Source: Media reports.
Bobbie Daniels, 48, Douglas County, on Dec. 21: Shot as police attempted to arrest a man in connection with the reported kidnapping of a security guard who was held hostage for 45 minutes at a mobile home park. Douglas County’s sheriff said Daniels pointed a gun at officers but may have been trying to help, not hurt, the situation, according to his family. Source: Media reports.
Harry Davis, 57, Putnam County, on May 27: Shot after advancing on a deputy with a hunting knife in his raised hand, saying “God, please forgive me for what I’m fixing to do” after police broke up a drunken fight between Davis and his grown son. Family said he was an Iraq war veteran with PTSD and serious mental issues and had been suicidal. Source: Police reports.
Kenneth Dothard, 40, Carroll County, on May 28: Shot after he began to draw a handgun from a holster while being questioned by a police officer while standing near an ATM machine. As a convicted felon, Dothard wasn’t supposed to possess a firearm. Source: Police reports.
Fredrick Farmer, 20, DeKalb County, on July 12: Shot after police say he shot a DeKalb County Police officer five times at a Stone Mountain apartment complex. Neighbors told police Farmer had fired a gun multiple times early that morning outside the building, yelling, “If the [guy] come back out, I’m going to kill him.” The officer survived. Source: Police reports.
Jason Foreman, 45, Barrow County, on Oct. 16: Police said Foreman exchanged gunfire with deputies who sought to arrest him on charges of fatally stabbing an acquaintance the day before. A deputy was wounded. Source: Media reports.
Anthony Giaquinta, 30, Habersham County, on Feb. 22: Shot after police said he shot to death his ex-wife and her male friend, then ambushed and wounded the county sheriff and a deputy who came to the house. Giaquinta was a former cop who had been fired by the same sheriff after being accused of domestic violence. Source: Media reports.
Crystal Lee Harry, 34, Worth County, on Feb. 26: Shot after police said she wielded a gun at officers following a high-speed chase. Authorities said the car she was driving contained numerous stolen firearms. Source: Media reports.
Anthony Hill, 27, DeKalb, on March 9: Neighbors at his Chamblee apartment complex called 911 to say he was outside naked, knocking on doors and behaving erratically. An officer said Hill ignored orders to stop charging at him and shot him twice. Family says he was a bipolar Air Force veteran of Afghanistan. Source: Police, media reports.
Christopher Mithcell, 23, Chatham, on March 10: Friends and relatives said Mitchell had been using meth, had been awake for days and was highly paranoid when he took his girlfriend and their infant son hostage in the bathroom of a friend’s home. Body camera video shows the officer firing after Mitchell repeatedly stabbed the girlfriend. Source: Police reports.
Brett Noblitt, 25, Whitfield County, on Nov. 16: Shot after police said he said he tried to run over an officer following a chase. Police suspected the SUV he was driving had been stolen. Source: Media reports.
Anthony Purvis, 45, Coffee County, on Feb. 3: Police said Purvis raised a 20-gauge shotgun at an officer responding to a 911 call that he had shot his wife in the hand during an argument. Had been holding the shotgun to his throat outside the family home when police arrived. Was under a psychiatrist’s care and had been drinking heavily. Source: Police reports.
Joseph Roy, 72, Gwinnett County, on May 7: Officers responding to a suicide call at Roy’s Lawrenceville home found Roy in the bathroom. He opened the door and charged at them with a knife. Source: Media reports.
Christopher Shell, 43, Walker County, on Sept. 27: Shot after waiving a rifle at sheriff’s deputies and state troopers who arrived at his Rossville home in response to a 911 call about a domestic dispute. Source: Media reports.
Michael Smashey, 37, Cobb County, on Feb. 23: Shot when he tried to stab officers trying to pull insulation off his body so they could stun him with a Taser as he hid in a crawl space off the bathroom of his girlfriend’s Powder Springs home. Officers sought to arrest him on robbery and aggravated assault charges. Source: Police reports.
Darius Smith, 18, Fulton, on Dec. 1: Police said Smith exchanged gunfire with officers in downtown Atlanta after bailing out of a car loaded with two pounds of marijuana, a tenth of a pound of cocaine, cash, multiple handguns and a mask and gloves. Source: Police reports.
William Tarrant, 39, Paulding County, on Nov. 20: Shot after police said he pulled a gun on deputies who responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute. Family members said he was a veteran and Purple Heart winner who had PTSD. Source: Media reports.
Nicholas Thomas, 23, Cobb, on March 24: Shot while driving a Maserati to flee officers trying to arrest him on a felony warrant. The Maserati belonged to a customer at the Goodyear where Thomas worked. Officers said they feared for their lives. Source: Media reports.
Derry Touchstone, 58, Early County, on Nov. 17: Shot after police said he advanced toward an officer who sought to question him about reports that he had made disturbing comments to patrons at a grocery store. Source: Media reports.
John Harley Turner, 36, Pickens County, on Oct. 24: Police say Turner wounded two deputies who responded to a 911 call from hunters who said Turner had threatened them with a pistol for being near his property. Source: Media, police reports.
Jerrod Tyre, 35, Wayne County, on July 22: Shot after police responding to a domestic dispute call at his Jesup home said Tyre refused to drop a handgun. Police said Tyre fired several shots into woods near his residence. Source: Media reports.
Tyler Wicks, 30, Richmond County, on June 22: Threatened to shoot officers if they showed up at his Augusta home. When they arrived, he refused to drop his gun. Source: Media reports.
Darren Billy Wilson, 47, Bartow, on July 21: Shot after police said he charged officers responding to a call that Wilson, wearing only boxers and a baseball cap, had threatened someone with a large stick. Source: Media reports.
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