Witness Accounts Conflict In Police Report of Shooting of Unarmed Georgia Man
A 25-year-old black man was shot and killed in his vehicle by Georgia police on Tuesday at around 1:30pm, WSB-TV 2 reports.
Cobb County and Smyrna police officers say they went to Goodyear Tire where Nicholas Thomas worked to serve him a warrant on a probation violation. Officers claim that when they arrived, Thomas jumped into a car and tried to get away before attempting to drive at them. Fearing for their lives, officers opened fire on Thomas, killing him.
“When you go to serve a suspect who knows that he is wanted, he is unpredictable and we have to react based on his actions. That's what we did today,” Sergeant Ed Cason with the Smyrna Police Department told WSB-TV 2.
Witnesses say that is not what happened.
Goodyear customer Brittany Eustache said that the officers were firing on Thomas while standing behind his car and that he never tried to drive toward them.
“The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him,” she said. “The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn't go any further.”
When asked by a reporter if Thomas was trying to make any aggressive moves, Eustache replied, “None, none at all. They immediately opened fire on them.”
Though the investigation into Thomas’ shooting is still underway, one local media outlet has begun its smear campaign. WXIA just posted an article outlining Thomas’ criminal past, with the headline, “Man shot dead by police had history of assaulting cops.”
The problem with this article is that it can lead readers to believe the cops were justified in killing Thomas because of his past. Moreover, there are a high number of cases in which white men have violently attacked police officers, yet in many cases were taken into custody alive.
As for the officers who shot into Thomas’ car, why would they not have first shot elsewhere on the vehicle?
"They could have shot the tires out; could have shot the radiator. Where's he gonna go?" asked Huey Thomas, Nicholas' father. "I mean, he's gonna get out and run. I just think it was totally unnecessary."
It is not known if there were any security cameras around to capture what happened at Paces Ferry Shopping Center, where the shooting took place.
Thomas leaves behind a 5-month-old baby girl. His mother, Felicia Thomas, told WSB-TV 2 that her son was working to pay off fines from a traffic warrant. She said that even if he did run, there was no reason to kill him.
“He just called me this morning and he said, ‘Ma, I got an attorney and I’m just waiting for my income tax check to come so I can pay off so I can get out of this probation violation,’” she told reporters yesterday. “It’s a sin and a shame. A kid had a traffic probation violation and they’re going to shot my son dead in the street?”