HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Attorneys for a 20-year-old Henry County man left paralyzed after police shocked him with a Taser during a foot chase through an apartment complex are preparing to file a lawsuit Tuesday morning accusing a former McDonough officer of using excessive force.
Jaylin Hughes is now paralyzed from the shoulders down and doctors don’t believe he'll ever walk again.
For more than a year, Channel 2’s Michael Seiden has been trying to get a copy of the body cam footage from the incident, but the city has refused to release it, citing an ongoing internal affairs investigation and a pending criminal case against Hughes.
Hughes’ attorneys are expected to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon where they plan is to release the footage and according to one attorney, it's what's not on the video that makes this so suspicious.
Despite losing his right eye to cancer, Hughes always had a smile on his face, especially when he talked about his dream of going to college and becoming a physical therapist.
But that all changed for him on the night of June 12, 2019.
McDonough police say officers responded to this apartment complex on Flowers Creek Drive after getting reports of four black teenage males smoking marijuana in a car.
"Jaylin was in a vehicle with three of his friends. -- three guys who have been friends with him for more than a decade. The driver of the vehicle lived in the apartment complex,” attorney Harold Spence said.
When officers arrived, Hughes became frightened and decided to make a run for it. He ran through the parking lot until he reached a six-foot fence.
"When he (Jaylin) got to the top of the fence and hoisted his torso above the fence, the police officer discharged his Taser. Jaylin's muscles froze," Spence said.
Unable to use his hands or arms to brace his fall, Hughes landed headfirst onto the ground breaking his neck.
A graphic photo shows Hughes on the grass paralyzed from the shoulders down.
His attorney said this would have never happened had former Lt. Douglas Miller followed his department's Taser policy.
“There's certain environments in which a Taser should not be deployed. One of those environments is when a person is in an elevated position," Spence said.
Seiden tool this incident to retired Atlanta police detective Orrick Curry. Curry served the city of Atlanta for 21 years and during his tenure. He also taught Taser tactics to cadets enrolled in the police academy.
"It's all about training," Curry said. "if a person is on an elevated state, being they’re on an elevation, then you should not use that Taser on that subject at that time or at any time because they could fall down."
After his fall, Hughes spent several weeks in the ICU at Grady Memorial Hospital, where Seiden spoke exclusively with his uncle, who at the time, demanded transparency from police calling on investigators to release the body camera footage.
"We all want all the facts brought out," uncle Sidney Hughes said.
Hughes’ family also urged the police department to discipline Miller but according to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training council, or POST, Miller resigned last august.
We've confirmed that his resignation happened in the middle of an internal affairs investigation, which means he was never disciplined.
But according to POST, Miller’s certification has been suspended for failing to maintain his training.
"Jaylin was not charged with any criminal offense until he fled from the car,” Spence said. "The marijuana was found in his sock after he was paralyzed while they were getting ready to put him the ambulance.”
Hughes is still facing charges of obstruction and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
Monday night, the McDonough City Council voted unanimously to appoint Ken Noble as acting police chief. He is a 20-year veteran of the force and takes over for Preston Dorsey, who was promoted to city administrator on May 1.
Seiden asked a city representative if the moves had anything to do with Hughes’ case and pending lawsuit.
The representative told Seiden she would get back to him on Tuesday.
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