DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County civil grand jury has suggested no indictment in four of five cases where police officers fatally shot suspects.
Those cases include the shootings of Anthony Hill, Eddie Bell Jr. and Ivy Shumake, Kevin Davis, Royce Flournoy and Austin Leake.
The civil grand jury only had the power to clear the officers or to recommend the district attorney pursue it further with a criminal case.
It did not have the authority to indict any of the officers.
The grand jury said in all of the cases, with the exception of Hill, they recommended the DA not pursue indictments against the officers involved.
In the case of Hill, they recommended further investigation to help the DA make a decision.
Police say Hill lunged at DeKalb Police officer Robert Olsen.
Hill's girlfriend, Bridget Anderson, told Channel 2 Action News he was bipolar.
Two weeks before the shooting, Anderson said Hill stopped taking his psychiatric medication.
"The side effects of the medicine were just giving him a lock jaw. He often complained that he had a swollen tongue," said Anderson.
Anderson says she does not know what triggered Hill's bizarre behavior leading up the shooting.
A family representative told Channel 2's Wendy Corona that Hill's girlfriend is still trying to wrap her head around the recommendations.
“She said she's trying to take it all in now. She just got the information and she's just trying to absorb it,” said Lt. Col Amos King, the Hill family spokesman.
Other recommendations for the Hill case included a follow up interview done with the first officer on the scene.
King and the Hill family attorney, Christopher Chestnut, remain optimistic.
“At least we still in the game. At least they didn't come back and say ‘do not,’” Chestnut said. “I think DA James will step up and file criminal charges here. I mean, this was a bad shoot, it's an unjustified killing.”
The civil grand jury also heard the case of Kevin Davis, who was shot by DeKalb Police Officer Joseph Pitts after Davis called 911 for help in December.
Investigators say Davis called 911 to request an ambulance for his girlfriend, who had gotten into an altercation with their roommate.
Investigators say the officer knocked on the door and yelled "DeKalb County" and eventually opened the unlocked door.
They say when he did, Davis’ three-legged pit bull mix darted out, and the officer shot and killed the dog. Davis heard the shot, saw his dog’s injuries and grabbed a handgun.
Police say seconds later, the officer encountered Davis and opened fire. Davis was still on the phone with 911 during the entire incident.
The officer admitted to investigators that Davis never actually pointed the gun at him, but Davis did refuse to drop the weapon when ordered to do so.
The family of Davis told Corona they are devastated by the news and they have vowed to continue fighting for justice for Kevin.
"The family of Kevin Davis is devastated by the news and they have vowed to continue fighting for justice for Kevin. We will meet and discuss our next steps in the coming days. The need for a legislative mandate for body cameras is underscored by this decision. The grand jurors were left to rely on the word of the officer. Additionally, the officer's ability to be present and testify is fundamentally unfair," said Mawuli Davis with the Davis/Bozeman Law Firm, who represents the Davis family.
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said he would not waste time in determining what to do next. In a statement James said:
"I would like to thank the grand jury for their collective efforts in reviewing multiple officer-involved shooting cases. I take the recommendations of the grand jurors regarding each case before making the ultimate decision on whether or not my office seeks criminal charges.
"Obviously the grand jurors were not unanimous in their recommendation pertaining to the Anthony Hill case. However, our office will continue to investigate this officer involved shooting case and will make a determination to pursue criminal charges or not.
"I am familiar with the facts and circumstances pertaining to the Anthony Hill case and have serious concerns regarding this matter.
"In the matter of Kevin Davis, we will take the recommendation under consideration, review the facts and make a final determination how we will proceed.
"We believe this grand jury civil review process is essential is increasing the transparency for each and every officer-involved shooting case."