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New details in Caroline Small police shooting

The Brunswick district attorney who has faced sharp criticism for failing to recuse herself in a controversial police shooting case recused herself 16 times since taking office in 2010 but never in a police shooting case, a new AJC analysis finds.

In the majority of the cases where Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson cited a reason, her rationale for recusing herself from a case was a personal or professional relationship with someone linked to her office, or with an office that she worked with.

But Johnson did not recuse herself from the 2010 shooting of Caroline Small, who was killed by two Glynn County police officers, even though the local police chief had endorsed her bid to become top prosecutor while the DA’s office was weighing criminal charges against the officers. Johnson’s handling of the case in the grand jury, which cleared the officers, has also come under fire.

Small’s killing was considered one of worst in Georgia and one former prosecutor in Johnson’s office called it a murder.

Read about the debate over appointing special prosecutors in police shooting cases and why some legal experts think Johnson should step aside and allow the Small case to be reopened.

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