UNION CITY, Ga. - A Union City police officer spoke out for the first time about the night he opened fire during a struggle for his gun.
A grand jury cleared Officer Luther Lewis of any criminal charges Wednesday
night in the shooting death of 19-year-old Ariston Waiters.
Lewis sat down with Channel 2's Ryan Young and told him the last few months have taken a large toll on his life.
"I've been getting hammered emotionally for
six months. I've had to move my family because of threats. Separated from my job, separated from my family," Lewis said.
Lewis granted his first interview to Young to discuss what happened the night of
Dec. 14, 2011 during which a struggle with the teen ended in gunfire and the death of Waiters.
"I'm sorry for the pain that it's caused them. I'm sorry for the pain that it caused his mother. And, it's not my fault, but I feel so sorry for the two witnesses that lied.
That night Union City police responded to a gunfire call. When police arrived at the scene they said waiters ran.
Lewis said he caught up with Waiters and he initially compiled with orders before a fight for the gun started.
"The whole thing took about 30 seconds from start to finish. Officer Lewis was in a desperate fight for his life," Lewis' attorney, Al Dixon, said.
Dixon said testimony proves two witnesses lied about the incident and Lewis did not shoot Waiters in the back.
"There was DNA on the gun that would have come from the skin cells from Mr. Waiters ... which proves that Waiters had had his hand and was trying to get the gun," Dixon said.
"What happened out there, happened. And you can't twisting it and can't keep push it to create a truth that you want to create because that's not the truth of what happened out there," Lewis said.
Waiter's family is planning a community rally Thursday night in his honor.
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