EAST POINT, Georgia (AP) – A grand jury on Tuesday returned an eight-tier indictment against two law enforcement officers related to the 2016 murder of a man who was shot 76 times in an attempted refugee in the Atlanta area.
Eric Heinze, an assistant chief inspector of the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, and Kristopher Hutchens, a Clayton County police officer who works with the task force, have been officially charged with murder, assault, burglary, misrepresentation, and injury of oath from an official, news outlets reported.
According to a report by a coroner, Jamarion Robinson, 26, was shot and killed 76 times by police on August 5, 2016 when officers tried to enter his home. Law enforcement believed Robinson was the man who authorities said was responsible for pointing a gun at Atlanta officials and escaping.
It was not immediately known whether Heinze or Hutchinson had lawyers to speak on their behalf.
Attorney Gerald Griggs, who is close to Robinson’s family, said the family celebrated the decision they have been waiting for for five years.
A US Marshals Service spokesman said officials attempted to serve arrest warrants for Robinson issued by Atlanta Police and Gwinnett County Police in the suburbs of Atlanta. A private investigator hired by Robinson’s mother discovered evidence of shots fired directly into the ground where her son’s body lay. Robinson had been a college football player at Clark Atlanta University and Tuskegee University and had no criminal convictions.
There is no body camera video of the shooting. At the time, federal policy did not allow U.S. marshals or local law enforcement officers who were helping them to wear body cameras. Cell phone videos from outside the home where the shooting took place captured nearly three minutes of gunshots.
Robinson’s family said their son, who was suffering from mental illness, was at his girlfriend’s house when 16 officers broke down the door.
“Over 90 shots were fired at my son, and lightning grenades were thrown at him, landed on him and burned him. Someone went up the stairs, stood over him, and shot his body twice more. Then he was handcuffed and down a flight of stairs with drugs, “Monteria Robinson said at a press conference in June 2020.
The case had been delayed several times, most recently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A former Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard said the investigation into the case had been blocked by officials’ refusal to cooperate and the lack of body camera footage. But when Howard lost his position to Fani Willis, the new prosecutor promised to act faster.
Prosecutors declined to comment on the grand jury’s lawsuit, saying late Tuesday that they were awaiting a copy of the indictment.
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