Mother says there's no way her son drowned after police say he ran from officers

An Atlanta mother refuses to believe her son drowned after he ran from officers. She told Channel 2's Tom Jones her son was an excellent swimmer and now the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is taking a closer look at the case. 

"I just want somebody to listen to me. He didn't drown in no pool," said mother Terri Smith. "My son is an excellent swimmer there's no way. There's no way my son drowned in a pool."

Jerome Hart was in Waycross on Nov. 24 and was on his way back to Atlanta. That's when a Ware County deputy pulled him over for a tag light that was out around 10 that night.

The GBI said Hart took off running. 

"Why did he run?" Jones asked.

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"It's a line of defense. He was afraid of cops. He really was afraid of them," Smith said.


The deputy gave chase. The GBI said he lost track of Hart and then he saw him run through several dark backyards near Jamestown Road. That's when the officer says he climbed a fence and saw Hart in the bottom of this homeowner's pool.

Hart died later.

His mother thinks he got into a struggle with the deputy.

"And something happened and he was thrown in that pool," Smith said.

The GBI is investigating.

Hart's uncle said he taught his nephew to swim when he was 4-years-old and said Hart recently took this picture when he went swimming at the beach.

"It just doesn't add up. It just doesn't add up," said Hart's uncle Edward Shannon.

"I wanna know what happened to my son. Somebody got to be held accountable," Smith said.

The GBI said Hart had an outstanding warrant in another jurisdiction for a probation violation and he did not have a valid driver's license.

Hart's mother said that had nothing to do with how her son ended up in a pool and died.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family raise money for Smith's funeral. You can donate here

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