Family disputes official account of Douglas police shooting

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Two wildly varying accounts — and one apparent contradiction — emerged Wednesday in the shooting of a father of five by a Douglas County sheriff's deputy.

The victim, Bobby Daniels, 48, was fatally shot Monday evening at a Douglasville mobile home park after he pointed the gun at the deputy, according to Douglas Sheriff Phil Miller. But Miller also said he doesn’t believe Daniels had any ill intent.

Which raises the question: If Daniels, a U.S. Navy veteran, meant no harm, as the sheriff acknowledged, why would he aim a firearm at an officer?

“That contradiction speaks volumes,” said attorney Chris Stewart, just retained by the Daniels family.

Deputies were responding to a 911 call from the Arbor Village mobile home park’s security guard, who said he had been held at gunpoint by 25-year-old Bias Daniels, Bobby Daniels’ son. While interviewing the guard they were approached by Bobby Daniels’ nephew, who, Stewart said, apprised the deputies of the situation.

"They knew who the bad guy was," said Stewart, who previously represented the family of Walter Scott, the unarmed man shot in the back in a controversial case earlier this year in North Charleston, S.C.. "And they knew Bobby Daniels was trying to calm down his son."

Miller said deputies were not aware at the time of Bobby Daniels’ identity.

“If he identifies himself, things might’ve been different,” said the sheriff, adding that Daniels also ignored their commands to stay in his vehicle.

When the deputies arrived they spotted Bias Daniels standing in the street holding a gun, according to a news release from the GBI, which is investigating the shooting.

Stewart said Bias was under the influence of some type of drug and, at one point before the police arrived, had pointed the gun at his father’s head. When Bobby Daniels later reached for the gun, his intent was to slap it away from his son, Stewart said.

According to the official account, Bobby Daniels and his son were wrestling for possession of the gun. One of the deputies fired a Taser, striking Bias, but the “deployment was ineffective,” the GBI release states.

It continues, “As the fight continued between Bias and Bobby, the handgun was pointed at the deputies, at which point one of the deputies fired, striking and killing Bobby.”

That deputy, who has not been identified, is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the GBI investigation. Miller said the deputy is a veteran of the Afghanistan War and a “very level-headed, great guy.”

Miller said four witnesses verified the deputy’s claim that Bobby Daniels pointed the gun at him.

“We reacted to what occurred that night and we reacted in a professional manner,” the sheriff said. The deputy who shot Bobby Daniels feared for his safety and “did what he had to do,” Miller said.

Stewart said he, too, has four witnesses. But they told him Bobby Daniels never aimed the gun at the officer.

“He never even had possession of the gun,” Stewart said. “He was trying to protect his son and he was trying to protect the officer.”

After his father was shot, Bias Daniels allegedly picked up the gun and ran, dodging a bullet fired by one of the deputies. He was apprehended a short time later at a nearby mobile home park and arrested on charges including aggravated assault, obstruction and marijuana possession.

Bias’ brother, Bobby Daniels Jr., said his father had an even temperament and, based in part on his training as a security guard, would never have pointed a gun at an officer.

“Family was everything to him,” said Bobby Daniels Jr. “He’d do anything for his kids.”

Daniels was the 29th person shot by police in Georgia this year, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's exclusive database.