Grand jury clears Cobb County officer in deadly shooting of 17-year-old

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — After a day of presentations and deliberation, a grand jury has cleared the officer involved in the deadly shooting of a Cobb County teen.

Vincent Truitt, 17, was shot twice in the back by a Cobb County police officer following a July car chase near the Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park. Truitt died at Grady Memorial Hospital the next day.

Investigators have contended that Truitt presented a threat to the officer when the teen got out of the car holding a gun.

“After closed deliberations, the grand jurors determined the use of deadly force was authorized and recommended that my office take no further action in regard to this case,” Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady announced during a Thursday evening news conference.

For the first time, a video of the incident was made public and shown to the media on Thursday night.

After the police chase, the video shows the car go behind a warehouse. Then you see Truitt get out of the stolen car. Within seconds, you hear two shots fired.

“When he first came out of the vehicle, he had the gun in his right hand,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jason Saliba.

The district attorney’s office stated the grand jury was shown several hours’ worth of video that included witness statements as well as police body camera video before it made its decision.

During the news conference, the district attorney’s office showed a still image from the body camera video of what they said was the gun in Truitt’s hand.

Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose asked Saliba how many images of the gun were presented to the grand jury.

“In all that video that you saw, all the evidence that was reviewed by the grand jury, there was only one frame of video that showed the gun Truitt’s hand?” Jose asked.

TRENDING STORIES:

“No, sir. There are several frames of video that show the gun in Mr. Truitt’s hand,” Saliba said.

But the district attorney’s office did not make any more video or images of the gun available Thursday night.

Later in the evening, Truitt’s family and their team of attorneys held their own news conference. They questioned what kind of grand jury had actually met in the case, criminal or civil.

“Having read the decision of the grand jury, we question whether or not it was is, in fact, a criminal grand jury,” said attorney Gerald Griggs. “A criminal grand jury returns either a true bill or a no bill. This appears to be a recommendation of no action. So we would have some questions and concerns for the district attorney regarding this case.”

When asked about what kind of case was presented to the grand jury, Broady said there were no charges presented against the officer.

“Basically, what was presented to the grand jury were the facts, and the grand jury was to decide, ‘Do we need to actually charge the officer with anything?’ And if that would have been the case, we would have drawn a presentment to ask for charges,” Broady said. “It was presented as a criminal case, yes.”

Broady said the video shows the officer is justified in the shooting and considers the case closed. Griggs said it shows otherwise.

“I think the video is quite clear at no point did Vincent Demario Truitt pose an immediate or deadly threat to this officer,” Griggs said.

For months, Truitt’s family had been asking investigators to release the police video of the incident.

“There is no justice in Cobb County,” Griggs said. “A man was shot in his back as he was running away from law enforcement. He posed no threat, and he was shot in the back and killed.”

Truitt’s grandmother lashed out that DA’s office.

“I will tell you this. Cobb County, you should be ashamed. You have another puppet who is going to make these side decisions without having any respect or regard for the family. And we’re tired of it. We’re not going away.”

In their own news conference Thursday, Cobb County police said the officer involved in the shooting is now back on the force.

“I realize that the loss of life is tragic. I cannot imagine the pain that the family has endured during this time. I pray for that family every day,” Cobb County Chief Tim Cox.

PAST COVERAGE OF THIS STORY:

Channel 2′s Chris Jose and Justin Wilfon contributed to this article.