And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; racism.]

Savannah, Georgia, police officer David Jannot has been put on administrative leave while an investigation gets underway into his killing 29-year-old Charles Smith yesterday morning. Smith, a black man, was handcuffed in Jannot's custody when he was fatally shot.

And, once again, there are fairly significant discrepancies between eyewitness accounts and the police account of the shooting:
Police had arrested Smith on outstanding warrants and put him in a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind his back, GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said in a written statement. Smith was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out a window of the patrol car, Lang said.

...Lang said officers noticed that Smith had a gun when he tried exiting the patrol car and he was shot by an officer. A gun was found under Smith's body and the incident was captured on video, Lang said.

But those who demonstrated Thursday night against the shooting clearly had their doubts. They rallied in front of the downtown precinct as uniformed officers stood by. Among the demonstrators were eyewitnesses, relatives, community activists and area ministers. "We want justice, justice for Mr. D," they chanted in unison.

Eyewitness Maurice Williams, 27, said he knew Smith from the neighborhood. He said about 11 a.m. he saw Smith in the back of a police car. He stopped to watch it go by when Smith, who was about 6 feet 7 inches tall, kicked out the window, folded his legs out and pushed on the door.

Williams said the officer exited the patrol car as Smith kicked the window a third time. Williams said he heard the officer say, "Do you want to die?" while he shot Smith in the legs.

Williams said he saw Smith, still handcuffed, escape out the window and fall to the ground. He said the officer fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back.

...[Rev. Dr. Leonard Small] of Litway Baptist Church said he dropped off three eyewitnesses to meet with investigators from the GBI, and he sat in on one of those interviews.

What baffled him, he said, is that while the shooting was being videotaped "nobody saw a gun. … The man holding the camera turned his back and there was a big gun," Small said.

"I don't believe it. They didn't find the gun when he was frisked and put in the police car. It was a big gun."
So, somehow the officer missed finding a large weapon on Smith's person before putting him in the patrol car, and then Smith managed to get his handcuffed hands around to the front of his body, access the weapon that the officer missed, and, while still handcuffed and following a fall to the ground from the patrol car, aim the weapon at the officer, but in a way only the officer and no eyewitnesses could see. Sure. That sounds likely.

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