The 2011 police shooting case of 19-year-old Ariston Waiters in Union City, Georgia is being re-opened. New evidence has emerged showing that the unarmed black teen was already on the ground when police fired two bullets into his back. This new information was not available to the Grand Jury that originally cleared the shooter, Union City police officer Luther Lewis, of any police misconduct.
In his Grand Jury testimony, Lewis testified that the shooting of Waiters occurred during a struggle for his service weapon with the victim, who was then shot in the fray. Lewis had been in pursuit of Waiters after breaking up a fight between the victim and another teen.
New evidence shows a never-before-seen video of Officer Lewis re-enacting the incident for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation directly following the shooting. In this video, Lewis’s version of events describes Mr. Waiters on the ground with his arms pinned under him ground before firing the two shots into his back that killed him. This version directly contradicts his Grand Jury testimony.
It is a mystery as to why the video is first emerging now. It was recently discovered as part of a local news story covered by WSBTV and was never presented to the Grand Jury.
Officer Chris McElroy was the first supervisor to arrive on the scene the day of the shooting. He told WSBTV that based on these initial statements from Officer Lewis, he never believed the shooting was justified. Though he expressed concerns about Waiters’ death to his supervisors and to Chief Chuck Odom who explicitly directed him not to file an official statement.
“I think Mr. Waiters died senselessly and his family deserves closure,” Officer McElroy told reporters. “I was surprised I didn’t get called by the GBI, to be honest with you. I was the supervisor on duty, I was the first arriving supervisor on the scene. You would think that someone investigating it would want to talk to me.” Officer McElroy was not interviewed during investigation and was not called as a witness for the Grand Jury proceedings.
This news surfaces following a spate of high profile cases that have resulted in the wrongful deaths of black American men at the hands of police.
The Law Offices of Michael S Lamonsoff has represented countless victims of police misconduct, including those who have been directly involved in police shootings.
If you or a relative has been the victim of police misconduct, police brutality, or a police shooting, you have rights. Call our offices at (212) 962-1020 to speak to an experienced police misconduct attorney about what happened to you or your loved one. Our legal advice is absolutely free. We’re here to help you become informed about what you are entitled to following a case of police misconduct and help you in taking the first steps toward compensation and justice.