Police in Clarke County, GA have released body cam footage from a dramatic officer involved shooting from the past week in which a suspect was shot in the face by an officer.
Athens-Clarke County Police Officer David Kelley approached two men he saw pouring liquor into a cup in a convenience store parking lot in violation of state liquor laws. Kelley observed that one of the men, identified as 22 year old Justin Tramell Scott, was armed with a handgun.
Kelley ordered Scott out of the car and gave him several orders in an attempt to disarm and detain him.
Rather than complying, Scott seemingly reaches for his firearm at one point in the footage. That’s when Kelley fired a round that struck Scott in the face.
Despite the wound to his face, Scott took off running and led Kelley on a short foot chase. Another officer joined the chase and was able to arrest Scott across the street (as shown in the below screenshot and subsequent video).
Some members of Scott’s family think that the officer acted too quickly and without regard for Scott’s life.
“I think that officer should have handled it better,” Lamorio Freeman, Scott’s cousin, said. “I don’t think he should have fired, because you could see that he was drunk.”
Scott had apparently just left a nightclub where he had been drinking heavily (and was attempting to continue doing in the vehicle).
However, Athens-Clarke County Police Chief R. Scott Freeman (unrelated to Scott’s cousin) disagrees with that assessment and thinks his officer did everything correctly.
“I think the officer was placed in a position where he had no other choice but to defend himself and/or face being shot and killed right there in the parking lot,” Chief Freeman said.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice for officer involved shootings.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is also reviewing the case to make sure the officer’s actions were justified. They are expected to release the results of their initial investigation in the near future. Once their investigation is complete, the case will be handed back to local authorities to investigate.
Scott was then transported to a local hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his cheek. He is expected to make a full recovery from the gunshot wound.
The above video was released by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in order to show that the officer’s actions were justified in their minds.