Avondale Estates cop who shot unarmed man promoted to chief

The Avondale Estates police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man following a high-speed chase in 2013 has been promoted to chief.

A civil grand jury recommended Sgt. Lynn Thomas be indicted for the death of 20-year-old Jayvis Benjamin, a suspected car thief. But after a lengthy investigation, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James decided against prosecuting the veteran officer, concluding Benjamin was the aggressor and deadly force was justified.

“We clearly have a scenario here where the officer is defending himself,” James told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in March. “He did not want to fight Jayvis Benjamin.”

James said his prosecutors failed to properly inform the civil grand jury about use-of-force guidelines. Also, Thomas declined to testify.

A press release from Avondale Estates stated Thomas, who joined the department in 2002, “has worked tirelessly to help make the city a safe and secure place for residents and the community.”

A more complete story will be posted later on myajc.com.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.