HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - The family of a Henry County teenager critically injured running from police is now calling for an independent investigation into an officer's actions.
The mother of 19-year-old Jaylin Hughes told Channel 2 Action News her son may never walk again.
She said he suffered multiple neck fractures and a severe spinal cord injury after a fall stemming from an encounter with an officer responding to a call about four teenagers smoking marijuana inside a car at an apartment complex on Flowers Creek in McDonough on June 12.
When McDonough police officers spotted the car in question, they said Hughes made a run for it.
“He attempted to climb the fence and was unsuccessful. The officer gave verbal notice that he was going to deploy his Taser and then deployed Taser," Maj. Kyle Helgerson said. “Mr. Hughes was able to get on the fence after the Taser was deployed. The officer then turned his Taser off and there was only a one-second Taser deployment.”
But what happened next is now the focus of an internal affairs investigation.
“The officer ran toward Mr. Hughes and attempted to get him off the fence but was unsuccessful. Apparently, Mr. Hughes' momentum pulled him over the fence and he slipped out of the officer’s hands,” Helgerson said.
“Jaylin is afraid of police. He didn’t want to have any problems,” said Hughes’ uncle, Sidney Hughes. "I’m having problems trying to understand how a minor incident leaves a kid paralyzed.”
The teenager’s family is now calling on investigators to release the body camera footage.
“I want all the facts brought out,” Sidney Hughes said. “He’s 19, so he’s prone to make 19-year-old mistakes but nothing out of the ordinary. He’s no gangster, no thug or anything like that.”
Channel 2’s Michael Seiden sent an open records request to the police department for body camera footage. It was denied because of the ongoing investigation.
Hughes is charged with obstruction of justice and possession of marijuana.
Police officials said the officer who deployed his Taser remains on active duty, stating there is no evidence that a crime was committed, which is why they haven’t requested assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Officials also said the internal investigation will focus on policies and procedures.
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