Montgomery Alabama Cop Charged With Murder Of Black Man Shot 5 Times
A young white Alabama police officer, Aaron Smith, 23, will face murder charges in the shooting death of 58-year-old Greg Gunn after being indicted by a grand jury.
Gunn was killed by Smith on February 25, 2016, at approximately 3:20 a.m. Gunn was stopped by Smith as he was walking from a neighbor’s house where he had been playing cards, to the home he shared with his mother. According to AL.com reports, Gunn was hit with a stun gun three times, beaten with a baton and shot five times by Smith, a state investigator had testified at a preliminary hearing in March. Smith fired seven times.
Smith’s lawyer Mickey McDermott said they continue to believe that Smith is innocent. “We intend to vigorously defend his rights,” he said. “We believe that he acted within the line and scope of his duty, his training, and within the law.”
“We look forward to defending him in front of a jury and myself and my co-counsel, Ms. Roianne Conner and I believe in officer Smith, as do many in the law enforcement community and the river region as well,” McDermott said.
McDermott previously said they believe Gunn was high on drugs or something else when the incident occurred, but he admitted he had not been informed of the results of any toxicology reports.
At a preliminary hearing a state investigator testified that Smith had given two different versions of what happened, and in one version he claimed that during the confrontation, Gunn had picked up a long pole used for a paint roller and swung it at him, while in the other version he’d said he wasn’t sure if he’d swung. The investigator testified that the pole did not have Gunn’s fingerprints on it. When investigators arrived Gunn was still clutching a black baseball cap in one hand while a paint roller was off to one side.
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey issued a statement after Friday’s indictment.
A State Bureau of Investigation agent, magistrate, District Court Judge and now a Grand Jury have all determined probable cause that Smith should be charged with murder, Bailey stated. “A jury will determine his guilt or innocence,” he stated.
“I want to be clear, that the indictment issued today is not an indictment against the Montgomery Police Department or any other law enforcement agency,” Bailey stated. “The Montgomery Police Department and the City of Montgomery cooperated fully with the State Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s Office during the course of this investigation. The Montgomery Police Department is made up of men and women that everyday protect our community in a lawful and professional manner. They are truly the thin blue line between a peaceful community and anarchy.”
Gunn’s family has already filed a civil lawsuit in the case this summer.
“All the credible information to date shows that Mr. Gunn was unarmed, did not use any object as a weapon, and did not have any object to use as a weapon, at any time from the start of his attempted walk home through his being fatally shot by Officer Smith,” according to a claim the family made to the city.
Gunn was college-educated and had lived his entire life as a resident of the Mobile Heights neighborhood. He was walking to the home he still shared with his elderly mother, according to the lawsuit.
“Mr. Gunn was well-known in his community and his neighborhood,” the lawsuit states. “He not only provided financial support to his mother, he also had a reputation for helping others in the community by cutting grass and doing other tasks. Mr. Gunn’s father had been one of the first African-Americans hired as a police officer by the City of Montgomery, a position in which he served for years.”
Over 200 people attended a memorial service for Gunn and yellow “Justice for Greg Gunn” signs were on display all throughout his neighborhood.
This is a truly deplorable situation. A good man gunned down yards from his own home. We pray his family gets the justice they’re looking for.
Family Handout/ Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office