Body camera footage released in Athens officer-involved shooting

Police in Clarke County released body camera footage showing the tense moments during an officer-involved shooting.

The Clarke County police chief told Channel 2 Action News his officer did nothing wrong while attempting to stop someone for a liquor violation early Saturday morning.

Athens officer David Kelley stopped at a Golden Pantry store on Barnett Shoals Road while on routine patrol at about 3 a.m., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. There, he encountered two men in a car, pouring liquor into a cup, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.

Police said Kelley’s body camera footage shows the officer also saw that one of the men, 22-year-old Justin Tramell Scott, had a firearm. Kelley gave multiple commands to Scott, but Scott reached for his firearm and Kelley shot twice, striking Scott once in the left side of his face.

Scott kept running despite his wound. He ran around the building as Kelley threatened to taze him. Scott stumbled and fell, but got up and ran for another three minutes, according to the footage.

Another officer later caught up to and arrested Scott across the street on Barnett Shoals.

Lamorio Freeman, Scott’s cousin, told Channel 2 the officers should have considered Scott’s state of mind. Freeman said his cousin was intoxicated after having recently left a nightclub.

“I think that officer should have handled it better,” Freeman said. “I don’t think he should have fired, because you could see that he was drunk.”

Chief R. Scott Freeman said his officer did everything by the book.

“I think the officer was placed in a position where he had no other choice but to defend himself and/or face being shot and killed right there in the parking lot,” Freeman said.