On July 7, someone observing Euree Martin, 57, just walking down the street while being black thought he was acting suspiciously and called 911. Three Washington County, GA deputies responded and attempted to take him into custody, even though there was no evidence that he had done anything wrong.
Sadly, people calling 911 because they see a black person walking is actually a fairly common occurrence.
Video showed the deputies hovering over the unarmed Martin, deploying their Tasers to get him to submit. After multiple shocks, Martin went into respiratory distress and died, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Heyward Altman, district attorney for Georgia’s Middle Judicial Circuit, announced he is seeking indictments of the three ex-lawmen on charges including felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, false imprisonment and aggravated assault.
Altman announced his plan Friday, and the former deputies — Henry L. Copeland, Michael Howell and Rhett Scott — were subsequently fired by Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith for violating several of the office’s standard operating procedures.
AJC pointed out that very few officers get charged with murder after they murder someone.
Soon they could join the ranks of only a handful of other Georgia peace officers charged with murder in a use-of-force case since 2010. Former East Point police Sgt. Marcus Eberhart was sentenced to life in prison in 2016after being convicted of murder in the 2014 Taser death of Gregory Towns. DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen was indicted in January 2016 for the fatal shooting of an unarmed Afghanistan War veteran who was nude at the time. Nine months later, Atlanta Police Officer James R. Burns was charged after a grand jury disputed his claim that he was in danger when he left his patrol car and fired a single shot at an unarmed civilian.
Video of the incident played a major role in the decision to pursue the charges against the killed cops.
“People feel relieved that this is a step toward justice,” Benjamin Dotson former president of the Washington County NAACP said. “But justice will require the officers be indicted and stand trial. These officers violated their trust. The evidence is not in doubt.”
Altman is expected to make his case to a Washington County grand jury convening Dec. 19.
(Article By James Carter)