ATLANTA - A troubling trend is developing in Georgia when it comes to officer-involved shootings. More suspects are dying in running gun battles according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is often called in to investigate these type of shootings.
The GBI says there are more officer-involved shootings so far this year than last year.
You’ve heard the term before, the GBI has been called in to investigate an officer-involved shooting, which has kept them busy this year.
“We’re at 77 officer-involved shootings that the GBI has been requested to investigate,” said Nelly Miles, the GBI Public Affairs Director.
She said the 77 officer-involved shootings in Georgia so far this year compared to 74 this time last year.
However, suspect fatalities, people killed in gun battles with police are way up.
So far 41 this year compared to 27 for all last year.
“In most of these cases we are seeing officers encountering incidents where they end up being engaged in a running gun-battles and officers prevail,” said Miles.
GBI investigations have also included cases where officers died.
in Gwinnett County Officer, Antwan Toney was killed in the line of duty, like Chase Maddox in Locust Grove.
Covington Police Officer Matt Cooper is still recovering.
“In general what we are seeing is a trending upward of just the violence in the cases,” said Miles.
Another troubling aspect occurred in Monroe County Monday. An officer-involved shooting resulted in a woman’s death who had a pellet gun.
“We have seen a rash of cases involving replica guns and that is very concerning obviously because these replica guns look like the real thing,” said Miles.
The GBI investigations involve autopsies, forensics, DNA testing, firearms analysis and extra man power.
Miles says the Governor’s office and the legislature have prioritized funding the GBI.
No longer she says are agents being pulled from other units to help in these top priority cases.
“It’s important an agent responds and they get on it quickly to process the scene and all the necessary investigative acts that have to occur,” said Miles.
She said it’s the district attorney’s offices who determine if an officer-involved shooting is justified based on the GBI findings.
Miles says most agencies do use a GBI independent review in officer-involved shootings even though it is not a legal requirement.
She said many smaller agencies don’t have the resources.
Miles said other larger agencies use an independent GBI review because officials realize how important transparency is to the public.