MCDONOUGH, GA (July 28, 2017) – Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo has implemented a new review process of police officer-involved deaths.
The new officer-involved deaths’ review panel is comprised of Pattillo, Chief Assistant District Attorney Cheveda McCamy, Chief Investigator Russell Moore and Investigator Bernard Monti, who is a Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council certified firearms instructor and use of force expert. The panel reviews all evidence in shootings and use of force deaths, including witness statements, videos, photographs, autopsy reports and police reports. It then conducts interviews and determines whether the use of force was justified based on police policies and state law.
“We want to ensure each incident is investigated thoroughly and with the same rigorous review process,” Pattillo said. “We inherited several cases to review when I took office, and we began to research the best policies and procedures to handle these type of serious issues. We have created this panel to ensure the same level of integrity and professionalism is brought to these types of cases.”
The panel has reviewed three cases this year and announced its results today:
- On May 14, 2016, Henry County Police officers were called to a home on Swan Lake Road in Stockbridge for a barricaded gunman. Ryan Johnson had fired a gun at his father and then barricaded himself in the home’s crawlspace. When officers arrived, Johnson fired a shotgun toward the officers and refused to surrender. The police SWAT team administered a Taser, but Johnson still refused to put down his weapon. Police fired shots after Johnson continued to threaten them with his shotgun. The medical examiner found he died of gunshot wounds. The District Attorney’s review found officers were justified to shoot after Johnson fired first and refused to surrender his weapon.
- On Nov. 12, 2016, McDonough Police responded to the Economy Inn on Old Industrial Boulevard in McDonough after Jackie Weems Jr. forced his way into a room and tried to rob a guest. Weems, 44, fought with the three police officers. In an attempt to take Weems into custody, officers administered a Taser and Weems became unresponsive. He died several hours later. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner found Weems died from “excited delirium,” which resulted from methamphetamine consumption. This led to increased heart rate and caused coronary artery spasms, according to the medical examiner. The medical examiner determined the use of the Taser was not a factor in Weems’ death and ruled his death accidental. The District Attorney’s review found the death was related to drug use and there was no wrongdoing by the officers.
- On Dec. 13, 2016, Henry County Police responded to a business on East Main Street in Hampton for a reported domestic dispute between Earl Eubanks Jr. and his ex-wife. When officers arrived, Eubanks was armed with a gun. Police called in the SWAT Team and hostage negotiators in attempt to disarm the gunman safely. Eubanks, 32, was shot by an officer after he refused to put the gun down and comply with officers’ commands. Police used a Taser on Eubanks prior to a firearm, and he still refused to drop his gun and walked towards officers with the gun. He died from a single gunshot wound. The District Attorney’s review determined the police shooting was justified.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigated each incident prior to the District Attorney’s review. The District Attorney’s Office also met with the next of kin in each case to brief them on the reviews.
“Each of these cases involve tragic endings, but our reviews determined the officers followed their training, acted within their agencies’ policies and procedures, and there was no criminal wrongdoing,” Pattillo said. “In the two shootings, officers used repeated verbal commands and multiple forms of non-lethal force prior to firing their service weapons at the armed suspects.”