Family of man killed by Cobb police officer files federal lawsuit

Attorneys criticize DA’s handling of police shootings
Devonte Brown, 28, was shot and killed by a Cobb County officer following a 2021 police chase, authorities said.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Devonte Brown, 28, was shot and killed by a Cobb County officer following a 2021 police chase, authorities said.

The family of a man killed by a Cobb County police officer during a 2021 traffic stop and chase has sued the officer who fired the deadly shots. The GBI closed its investigation into the incident in January 2022 and a Cobb County grand jury chose not to pursue charges.

Devonte Brown, 28, was not armed and posed “no immediate threat” to the law enforcement officers at the time, attorneys for his family said.

Officers tried to stop him for driving erratically, former Cobb police Chief Tim Cox said at the time. Authorities initially said the vehicle was stolen, but Cox later clarified that Brown’s driving was the reason for the stop.

Body camera footage shows Brown reversing the vehicle and then driving forward, crashing into squad cars in an apparent attempt to get away.

“Get your hands up. Get your (expletive) hands up,” Cobb County Police Officer Ian McConnell is heard shouting before firing 12 rounds into Brown’s window.

Body camera footage shows a Cobb County officer firing a dozen rounds at 28-year-old Devonte Brown following a 2021 police chase in Marietta. A grand jury declined to indict the officer.

Credit: Contributed

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Credit: Contributed

The federal lawsuit filed this week alleges McConnell deprived Brown of his constitutional rights “by using excessive and deadly force.” He is the only defendant named in the complaint.

Several other officers could be seen standing near Brown’s vehicle at the time. Only McConnell opened fire.

Brown was shot three times in the face and head, once in the neck, twice in the chest and once in each arm, according to the filing.

Attorneys for Brown’s family acknowledged that while vehicles can be used as weapons in certain instances, this was not one of those cases.

“Devonte Brown had been boxed in with no means of escape,” said attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter. “He was boxed in by officers on each side of his vehicle. He wasn’t going anywhere.”

The attorneys also criticized Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady, saying he should have done more to pursue criminal charges against the officer.

AikWah Leow, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office, said the grand jury was presented the facts of the case in December 2022 and then asked to decide whether or not further action was warranted. All Cobb police shootings are presented to grand juries this way, rather than drawing up possible charges ahead of time and asking the grand jury whether or not to indict, she said.

When the grand jury decided no further action was necessary the DA’s office chose not pursue criminal charges, Leow said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs said the presentment reminded him of the fatal Cobb police shooting of Vincent Truitt nearly four years ago.

Truitt, 17, was shot twice in the back July 13, 2020, after a police chase near Six Flags Over Georgia ended behind a warehouse on Riverside Parkway. The Atlanta teen jumped out of a stolen Nissan Altima with a gun, but appeared to be running away from Officer Max Karneol when he was shot, according to the officer’s body camera footage.

That case was presented to a Cobb grand jury in February 2021. Like Brown’s case, the presentment did not result in criminal charges.