The officers said they “smelled an odor of marijuana” emanating from Phillips’ car, according to Atlanta police. Phillips was waiting for a friend who was inside picking up documents. The car belonged to the friend, not Phillips.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting, said the marijuana found was not lit. The gun found in the car Phillips was driving also was not a factor in the shooting, according to the GBI.
Phillips got out of the car to talk to the officers, but it’s unclear whether he knew who they were. Abdulahad and his partner, officer El Malik Roberson-EL, were dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked, red sports car.
It’s also unclear whether Phillips lunged back into his car in an attempt to flee, as police contend, or whether Abdulahad pushed Phillips into the car.
It is clear that Abdulahad, an 11-year APD veteran assigned to the Gun Reduction Task Force, was not halfway inside the car Phillips was driving.
“The District Attorney’s office is well aware that the video footage depicts activities and events which might appear inconsistent with what has previously been described by the media,” Fulton County DA Paul Howard said in a statement. The media’s reporting on the shooting was based on law enforcement’s account.
Howard said he has yet to receive the case file from the GBI but will make an “independent review” once their investigation is done.
“Once we receive this information, as we have been called upon many times in the past, we will make our assessment and then let the chips fall where they may,” Howard said.
APD spokeswoman Elizabeth Espy said in a statement that, "The department is appreciative of the GBI’s efforts and willingness to conduct an impartial investigation on our officer involved shooting. APD places enormous value on transparency and objectivity, and will accept the findings of the GBI’s investigation."
A native Atlantan, Boone joined the AJC staff in 2007. He quickly carved out a niche covering crime stories, assuming the public safety beat in 2014. He's covered some of the biggest trials this decade, from Hemy Neuman to Ross Harris to Chip Olsen, the latter of which was featured on Season 7 of the AJC's award-winning "Breakdown" podcast.