Thursday, August 14, 2014


AUGUSTA, GA (Jill Peterson) - I painted these after covering a "police-involved shooting" in Augusta, Georgia for the alt-weekly (after applying for arts editor but getting assignments like this). The pictures are named after the Georgia state motto: "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation." The first two are taken directly from police car dash cam stills; the last from imagination. How the neighborhood was encircled for I forget how long after the "riot." I asked the lieutenant who ordered the tank and convoy. He said he did. I asked why. He said he forgot.

The story goes like this: a anonymous tip comes in that a dark SUV is stolen and maybe there was something about guns and drugs. Cops in the projects surround this SUV which is a different model from what was described.

The driver according to neighbors also was in what was described as a feud with one of the shooter cops. The driver got to his car and either didn't realize the stop was for him or did and started to drive off. The deputy standing in front of the SUV said that he thought the driver was trying to run him over. When looking at video the wheels are turned from the street to drive around the deputy which is what he did at a slow rate.

The cop fired at him as he drove by. Another cop joined in the shooting later reporting that he didn't know why they were shooting and that he had tunnel vision. It was afternoon. There were kids around. Two bullets went into the apartment of a city worker through a door and window, one bullet inches from a highchair.

The bullet that killed the driver entered from the back part of his head. The sheriff said the deputy was shooting through the windshield. The windshield seemed on video and in photos not shattered. The dead driver was called a criminal, thug and drug dealer. He had been arrested for personal amounts of marijuana and cocaine, drugs that the town's conservative radio guy admits having used himself.

Eyewitnesses say that right after the shooting the driver's 13 or 14 year-old nephew came running shouting "they killed my uncle!" and was held face down on the sidewalk by an officer with an automatic or semiautomatic rifle. The second picture is of a deputy pulling something like that out of the trunk.

According to the editor's and my calculations of how the cop cars ended up parked and eyewitness accounts of where the nephew was on the ground, it seems that the car camera must likely to record the incident is the one that was reported damaged and to not have video. I requested and received dvd's of all three of the involved cars' video. There was a note from the FBI agent who mailed to call with any questions and his phone number. I was too afraid to call.

There was a protest the night of the killing. Dumpsters were lit on fire and I believe a(n abandoned?) car. Firefighters and cops. Someone throws a bottle. Several people maybe. Sheriff gives press conference next day. Reporters zoom in on real story- how did the Sheriff feel about them throwing bottles at his deputies? Deputies end up back on road patrol with their guns. I heard from kids in the projects about one cops who picks on them all the time and made them pull their pants down.

Not sure how true that is but it would suck. Heard that all the kids. Even the tiny ones run when a cop car drives up.

That the feud between shooter and driver had a little scene a week or two before the shooting- cop told guy to get inside, guy said it's my yard I can stand here. I think at the press conference the Sheriff said he didn't know how many bullets his deputies fired. I think he also said they would not be releasing the video. Weeks or months later I got a call from one of the guys I interviewed to come talk to someone else.

Two guys talked to me about something they said happened after the protest called a riot. They say some of the cops recognized them there shouting about the shooting. They say some cops took them out to a recently closed down housing project, circled them and gave them a whooping. One guy said he got bashed in the mouth. His front teeth were broken. They were sharp and looked to me freshly broken. He didn't seem used to talking with them broken. He was crying when I left.

He said his son was doing good in school and would get him out of there. The altweekly publisher was not into that kind of story. I went to see the publisher of the black paper located in the black part of town.

She asked me did I think she had space to print all the sad stories like that that she gets- "look where I am," she said.

—> Dec 17, 2008 - Richmond County Sheriffs shot and killed 23 year old Justin Elmore on Monday in the Cherry Tree Crossing Housing Projects. This housing is closed and ready to be demolished. Photo 8/18/2014


BREAKING: ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit today to obtain public records on the #MikeBrown shooting in #Ferguson.

Sent to the Media by the Richmond County Sheriff Office (RCSO)

On August 17th, 2014 at 12:21pm, the Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatch center received a call for help from a female located on Highway 22 at Hitson Porter.  The complainant advised the dispatcher that her boyfriend, Charles Reed, 34 year old w/m (Photo Enclosed) was attempting to run her off the road and thus far was successful two times.  On the second time, she was blocked in and he was striking the side of the vehicle to gain entry.

During the incident, two armed bystanders approached the suspect and he stopped.  He then began fleeing the scene as two Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Deputies were approaching; one stayed with the victim and the other pursued the suspect for approximately 3 miles before the suspect vehicle went off-road and into the woods near his residence.

The victim advised Deputies that the suspect was possibly armed with a .22 rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun.

The suspect eluded the pursuing Deputy in the woods and gained entry to his home as additional Deputies were called to the scene because he had entered Wilkes County by 100 yards.  The residence was surrounded by Deputies from the Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia State Patrol, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  While surrounded, Deputies heard what they believed to be a single gun-shot come from within the residence.

Commanders on the scene unsuccessfully attempted to make contact with Mr. Reed on numerous occasions and contacted family members for assistance as well.  When all attempts were unsuccessful, the Georgia State Patrol SWAT Team was contacted and responded to the scene.  At approximately 1900 hrs, the GSP SWAT Team with the use of their Bear Cat gave multiple verbal commands over the loud speaker for the suspect to exit the house.  On the 3rd command, the suspect exited the residence with his hands in the air and was taken into custody by the GSP and Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Office without incident.

Upon entry into the residence, it was confirmed that a shot had been fired and multiple weapons were confiscated.  No shots were ever fired by Law Enforcement Officers.  Charles Reed has been charged with aggravated assault, criminal damage to property – second degree, fleeing & eluding law enforcement with additional charges pending.

—> For Sheriff Marc Richards, Taliaferro County Sheriff's Office , Lt. Lewis Blanchard (RCSO)

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