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2 officers charged with murder of man who was shot nearly 60 times


Two Atlanta-area law enforcement officers were charged this week with felony murder for their roles in a 2016 confrontation with a gunman who was shot nearly 60 times when they tried to arrest him, according to court documents.

The officers—identified in an indictment as Eric A. Heinze, a deputy U.S. Marshal, and Kristopher L. Hutchens, a Clayton County police officer—were members of a fugitive task force that had issued a warrant for the man, Jamarion Robinson. .

Members of the task force told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that on August 5, 2016, Mr. Robinson shot them two or three times with a pistol after officers broke through the door of his girlfriend’s apartment in East Point, Georgia. . Fulton County suburb of Atlanta.

Robinson, 26, was wanted on charges of attempted arson and aggravated assault on a police officer, according to officers, who said he still refused to drop his weapon after being shot. Three members of the task force fired at Mr. Robinson, state investigators said.

Mr Robinson’s family, who said he had schizophrenia, have disputed law enforcement records of what happened that afternoon. The deadly shooting of Mr Robinson, who was black, sparked protests against racial injustice and excessive violence, straining relations between local law enforcement agencies and their federal partners.

Mr Robinson’s relatives said his body was riddled with 59 entry wounds and 17 exit wounds before being dragged down a flight of stairs – in what family members described as tampering with evidence. The officers proceeded to shoot Mr Robinson after using a concussion grenade known as a flash-bang that incinerated him, his mother, Monteria Robinson, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“Someone stood over my son and shot his body,” Ms Robinson said. “They all say my son fell to the ground, so why did they fire another 80 or more volleys at my son?”

A spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The 21-page indictment, returned Tuesday by a grand jury in Fulton County, did not address the nature of the charges against the two officers or their actions.

In addition to two counts of felony murder, Mr. Heinze, 44, and Mr. Hutchens, 47, were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary, two counts of making false statements and two counts of violating the oath of an official.

Messrs. Heinze and Hutchens did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. It was not clear whether they had lawyers. Their status as law enforcement officers was also not clear.

The US Marshals Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, and a spokeswoman for the Clayton County Police Department did not immediately comment.

At the time of the death of Mr. Robinson, he was preparing to re-enroll at Tuskegee University in Alabama, where he had played soccer, his mother said. For more than five years, she said, she had pressured prosecutors in Georgia to bring charges against the officers involved in the deadly shooting.

“They just found a mother fighting back,” said Mrs. Robinson. “I didn’t record their false story. The grand jury also saw right through the lies.”

Robinson’s family commended Fani T. Willis, who last year became the first black woman elected to serve as a Fulton County district attorney, for taking the case to a grand jury.

Ms. Robinson said she hired a private investigator and enlisted the help of noted forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to seek justice for her son. She disputes the claim that he opened fire on the officers.

“Do I believe he shot them?” she said. “No, I don’t.”

Ms. Robinson, 53, said a third officer involved in the shooting of her son had since died.

In 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Paul Howard, then Fulton County District Attorney, was suing the Justice Department for failing to release information about Mr. Robinson’s shooting.

Mr. Robinson’s family has also filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Marshals Service and several members of the task force over the deadly shooting. The Atlanta branch of the NAACP supports the family’s efforts.

“If you look in that house and you see the carnage that was left behind, that was nothing more than an execution,” said Gerald A. Griggs, an attorney for the NAACP in Atlanta and the first vice president of the local branch of the United Nations. organization, in a meeting on Wednesday.

Jesus Jimenez contributed reporting and Susan Beachy contributed research.

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