Lawsuit: Woman claims serious injuries after officer shot at car thief

Oliver Simmonds was the officer involved in a deadly shooting Tuesday night in southwest Atlanta, police said. He is assigned to the mayor's security detail and was hired by the Atlanta Police Department on April 29, 2010.
Oliver Simmonds was the officer involved in a deadly shooting Tuesday night in southwest Atlanta, police said. He is assigned to the mayor's security detail and was hired by the Atlanta Police Department on April 29, 2010.

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

A Fulton County woman alleges she’s incurred more than $400,000 in medical bills due to injuries sustained when an Atlanta police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old trying to steal his SUV.

Lois Osborne said she was inside one of the two vehicles hit by the errant vehicle in January 2019 after the driver, a would-be car thief, was shot multiple times by the officer, Oliver Simmonds. On Monday, Osborne filed a lawsuit in Fulton State Court alleging the officer acted “in direct contravention of absolute ministerial duties and in reckless disregard for law enforcement procedure” when he left his city-issued car unattended and then fired his weapon at D’Ettrick Griffin.

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APD and the city are listed as defendants.

APD policy prohibits officers from firing their weapons to stop a fleeing vehicle but, at the time of the shooting, a broad exception allowed for a “reasonable and necessary” use of force.

Earlier this year, Chief Erika Shields enacted a zero-chase policy prohibiting pursuits of suspected car thieves.

Shields said "the department is assuming an enormous amount of risk to the safety of officers and the public for each pursuit, knowing that the judicial system is largely unresponsive to the actions of defendants."

Osborne’s injuries prevent her from accomplishing routine tasks, her suit claims, and she requires ongoing, “extensive treatment.”

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