COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a teenager killed by police is calling on Cobb County to fire its police chief immediately.
The new demand comes after Vincent Truitt’s family and their attorneys watched police body camera and dash cam video of the controversial police shooting with the Cobb County district attorney.
Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose spoke to the family exclusively after that meeting took place a day after the election.
“He was never a threat, so we will grieve for the rest of our lives,” said Truitt’s godfather Damon “Dee” Horn, minutes after he watched the video.
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At a news conference on Tuesday, Truitt’s mother described her son’s dying words.
“Why did you shoot me? I’m dying,” said Venethia Cook-Lewis. “My poor baby never saw it coming. He was running away. Since when did running away become a death sentence?”
The deadly police shooting took place on July 13 near Six Flags. The 17-year-old died the next day at Grady Hospital.
After the shooting happened, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation put out a news release that stated Truitt brandished a handgun after police chased him and two other teens in a stolen car on Riverside Parkway.
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After the GBI wrapped up its independent investigation late last month, the agency turned the file over to the Cobb County DA.
For more than 100 days, the Truitt family and their attorneys demanded to see the video.
They finally reviewed it last Wednesday.
“The family is calling for the immediate termination of the police chief, Tim Cox,” said Truitt family attorney Gerald Griggs at the news conference.
Hours after the Truitt family called on Cobb County and its board of commissioners to fire the police chief, a police spokesperson emailed a news release and said Truitt was “armed with a handgun (in his hand) as he exited the vehicle.”
“An officer running toward him observed the weapon and responded by drawing his issued weapon and firing two shots, striking Mr. Truitt both times,” said Cobb police public information Wayne Delk in the news release.
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Jose emailed Delk back and asked, “What’s the police department’s response or the chief’s response to the Truitt family calling for Chief Tim Cox’s firing today?”
The spokesman never responded to that question or inquiries that Jose has put into the police department about the Truitt case over the last month.
“At no point did Vincent turn and face that officer, point a gun at that officer, brandish a gun at the officer or do anything to the officer except for get out of the vehicle and run for three steps,” said Griggs. “No way that officer could see (the gun). His body cam was clear from what he would’ve seen.”
In addition to the immediate firing of Chief Cox, the family is demanding the public release of all video related to Truitt’s death.
“Justice for Vincent Truitt will prevail. We want Cobb County to release the tapes to the tax paying citizens who deserve to witness this injustice,” said Andrae Truitt, the teen’s father.
The Truitt family also wants Cobb County to publicly name the police officer who shot the 17-year-old. They told Jose they want the district attorney to file murder charges against the officer and present it to a grand jury.
Jose emailed the Cobb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
Commissioner JoAnn Birrell was the only one to respond with a statement:
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Vincent Truitt for the loss of your son. I will continue to pray for you all. I have the utmost of faith in our justice system and believe that all are innocent until proven guilty. I also believe that everyone has a right to due process of the law and a right to a fair trial. I support and respect our Police Chief. The officer’s outcome will be decided in a court of law following a thorough investigation by the GBI, District Attorney and Grand Jury.”
A rally for Vincent Truitt is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. on the Marietta Square.