Police Shoot and Kill Diabetic After Wife Calls About Pill Overdose

Two police officers shot and killed 43-year-old Jack Roberson on Friday afternoon, and his family is disputing law enforcement's side of the story.

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A Georgia family is disputing the police’s story about why officers shot and killed a man on Friday afternoon.

Two police officers shot 43-year-old Jack Roberson, a Waycross, Georgia resident, according to a report on News4Georgia.com,the website for the news outlet WJXT. The police were responding to a call from the Roberson house, and they said they regretted that Roberson died. But many facts remain in dispute.

Roberson’s family told the news channel that he was unarmed and had no weapons. They also said that Roberson’s fiancee had called law enforcement because Roberson, who has diabetes, was in distress after swallowing a couple of pills.

“I was here -- and my son was coming from the kitchen. He saw the officer over there. The officer didn't say anything. My son raised his hands,” Diane Roberson, his mother, told WJXT.“The officer took his gun, fired -- one, two, three. I heard four shots. My son fell. Nothing in his hands.”

Roberson’s fiancee backed up the mother’s account of what happened. “They didn't say anything,” said Alicia Herron. “They didn't pull their Taser out. They didn't shoot him in the leg, the arm. They went straight for his chest.”

The police say they were responding to a suicide call, though the Roberson family says Jack Roberson was not suicidal. The police were told that Roberson was being combative and was damaging property. “The officers yelled repeatedly for Mr. Roberson to stop and drop the weapons. Mr. Roberson gained ground on the officers and raised one of the weapons in a threatening manner toward the officers. Both officers fired to stop Mr. Roberson from assaulting them,” said Waycross police chief Tony Tanner. The family denies that Roberson had a weapon. The police did not specify what type of weapon they say he had.

The police officers who fired the shots have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the state.

It’s not the first time Waycross police officers have become embroiled in controversy. In April 2012, the police shot and killed 26-year-old Andrew Poole. The police were looking for a murder suspect. Poole was not the suspect, though, and his family says he too was unarmed.

 

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.