National News

GBI investigates string of officer-involved shootings

Posted May 7, 2018 7:56 p.m. EDT

— The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has been called to investigate 34 officer-involved shootings so far in 2018. Eleven recent shootings have happened in less than two weeks.

The latest happened Monday in Floyd County.

There was also one early Sunday morning in East Point. The GBI said a College Park police officer was conducting a field sobriety test on 32-year-old Terence Leslie at an East Point gas station around 2:20 a.m. when things became violent.

Police say Leslie started to fight with the officer. The officer responded by using his taser but Leslie grabbed it and broke the officer's arm,.

That's when the officer shot Leslie. Leslie then fled to his car and drove down the road before crashing at another gas station on Camp Creek Parkway.

Vince Champion with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, and a retired police officer himself, said, "We're finding more people challenge us now than they ever have before."

Champion said officers are trained to stop the threat and using their gun is a last resort.

"We don't go out every day wanting to shoot somebody, that's not why we are cops," he said.

He said while they want to weed out bad officers, they also want to speak with the community to have a conversation.

"We're trying to police our own but we're also trying to get out and talk to the public, what is your issue, what can we do," said Champion. "Tell us what you perceive because the problem isn't the reality, the problem is the perception that they perceive."

Terry Norris is the executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.

"I think it is a lack of respect for the law and the authority of the law," he said about the recent string of officer-involved shootings.

He said officers have to make split second decisions.

"They don't always get it right but for the most part I think we do and I think the training that we have is certainly sufficient, we can always do more and we should," says Norris.

"If you're not complying with a lawful command of an officer, you're likely to get hurt. If you run, if you fight, or if you point a gun at someone, then you're likely to get hurt," he added.

The GBI said they investigated just about the same number of officer-involved shootings this time last year.