Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon and the City Council proceeded with their Monday meeting, following a 45-minute disruption by around 30 people protesting Monday’s promotion of Sgt. Kenneth Owens to lieutenant after killing Nicholas Thomas in March.
Thomas, 23, died at the scene of his workplace at the Goodyear tire store on Cumberland Parkway when Smyrna and Cobb County officers attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant on a probation violation.
Police said Thomas tried to run over them with a customer’s car when Owens shot Thomas in the back.
Owens was the only officer to fire his gun, which was the first time he had fired at anyone during his police career, according to Smyrna police.
While a Cobb County grand jury recommended no action to be taken against Owens in July, the shooting and the local investigation still are under investigation by a U.S. attorney.
In response to calls from the protestors to shut down the council meeting, Bacon said, “We’re not going to shut it down,” then left the room with the other council members and city officials except a few police officers.
Shortly before 8 p.m., the protestors began shouting from the back of the room during a Black History Month presentation by Divas With a Cause.
After the women completed their song, the protestors proceeded down to the front around 8 p.m., interrupting a Habitat for Humanity rezoning presentation.
Among the protestors’ demands are for Owens to turn in his weapon, for his promotion to be rescinded and for federal and special investigatons.
At 8:18 p.m., Smyrna police declared the protestors’ gathering “an unlawful assembly” and gave them two minutes to leave the chambers.
The council reconvened at 8:21 p.m.
City officials made no comments about the protestors.
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.