Simply being arrested on the suspicion of having committing a crime does not necessarily mean that a person will end up facing criminal charges. Although an individual may be accused of committing a crime, unless he or she is actually indicted on those charges there will be no legal action. A Georgia police officer was recently cleared following a grand jury’s decision to not indict him on criminal charges.
In Sept. 2014, police officers apprehended a man who was suspected of stealing a vehicle and being involved in other criminal acts. According to authorities, the man struggled against officers during his arrest and pat down. Finally, he was placed in the rear seat of a patrol vehicle.
While left alone in the car, the man allegedly managed to move his handcuffed arms from behind his back to the front of his person. Police say he then kicked out a window and exited the vehicle. Producing a weapon that had not been discovered during the pat down, the suspect is said to have raised the weapon as though ready to shoot approaching officers. One officer fired in response to the threat, fatally injuring the man.
The officer’s decision to take action was not without controversy in Georgia, and, after the incident, he faced the possibility of being charged in the suspect’s death. Ultimately, the grand jury reviewed all related evidence and came to the conclusion that the officer should not be charged. However, it is possible that the officer was already preparing to face criminal charges as he awaited the grand jury’s final decision. Even if an individual has not been formally indicted on charges, it may be appropriate to review related evidence alongside his or her counsel to ensure a legal foundation that is as secure and prepared as possible should a jury decide that an indictment is appropriate.
Source: Yahoo News, “No charges for Georgia officer who shot handcuffed man”, Russ Bynum, Feb. 25, 2015