State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, speaking on the House floor about HB 116.
Photo: GPB
Photo: GPB

House OKs Cobb rep’s bill to try minors as adults if they shoot a cop 

The Georgia Senate will be next to consider a bill proposed by a Marietta legislator that would uncomplicate the process to try minors as adults if they’re accused of shooting police officers.

The state House passed House Bill 166 on Monday with a 130- 36 vote.

Rep. Bert Reeves sponsored the bill after Marietta police officer Scott Davis was responding to a report of car break-ins early Aug. 11 when he was supposedly shot by an unidentified 15-year-old member of the Bloods gang.

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While presenting the bill on the House floor, Reeves, who wasn’t available for comment Tuesday, recounted what happened to Davis during and after the shooting. The officer underwent five surgeries and 21 weeks of recovery before heading back to work.

Marietta police officer Scott Davis

He pointed to Davis in the gallery while speaking. The officer has attended all of the bill’s proceedings.

Under the bill, prosecutors could indict the accused minors in superior court instead of the case starting in juvenile court.

Right now, there are eight such charges that give district attorneys that option — they range from murder to armed robbery with a gun. Reeves’ bill would add two additional charges to the list: aggravated assault with a firearm and aggravated battery, specifically against police officers.

Georgia Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta

The bill would still allow for sending a minor back to juvenile court.

Reeves’ legislation has been opposed by the Georgia Justice Project, which advocates for and offers legal help to poor people working their way through the criminal justice system. Juveniles charged as adults often receive harsher sentences and have a higher likelihood of re-offending, the group said.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

That chamber approved a package of pro-police bills Friday being referred to as the “Back the Badge Act of 2017.” One of those bills was structured after Reeves’ effort.

Reeves, R-Marietta, has said he wants both efforts to become law.

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The February 24th edition of Georgia Legislative Week in Review with Aaron Gould Sheinin, Kristina Torres and the Phrase of the Week by James Salzer. Video by Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

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