Grand jury recommends no charges in controversial police shootings

A DeKalb County grand jury on Thursday recommended no charges be brought against the officer who shot a man who had just called 911 for help but advised further investigation was needed in the police-involved shooting of an unarmed veteran.

The deaths of Kevin Davis, 44, last December and Anthony Hill, 27, in March sparked widespread protest amid a national debate over police use of force.

“The family of Kevin Davis is devastated by the news and they have vowed to continue fighting for justice for Kevin,” said the family’s attorney, Mawuli Davis (no relation). “The need for a legislative mandate for body cameras is underscored by this decision. The grand jurors were left to rely on the word of the officer.”

Davis had called 911 to report that his girlfriend, April Edwards, was stabbed by a roommate. DeKalb police office Joseph Pitts was dispatched to the apartment, but said he was met by Davis’ dog when he arrived. The officer shot the animal.

“It was him or me,” Pitts told the grand jury earlier this week.

Last week, the officer who fatally shot unarmed veteran Anthony Hill told members of the grand jury he, too, felt compelled to protect himself when Hill, nude at the time, did not obey orders to stop coming toward him.

An expert witness testified on behalf of the prosecution that he could find no justification for the shooting. Friends of Hill told The AJC he had struggled to find the right medication for bipolar disorder, diagnosed while the airman was serving in Afghanistan.

In the Hill case the grand jury recommended a follow-up interview be conducted of the officer who arrived on the scene after the shooting along with a “more thorough interview” of officer who fired the deadly shots.

For more reaction, check later this afternoon.

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