Cop Killer Was Supposed To Be In Jail, But Judge Let Him Walk
Gwinnett County, GA – The man who murdered Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney was a self-proclaimed gang leader who had been released to probation despite prosecutors’ attempts to keep him locked up.
Tafahree Maynard, 18, already had a history of violent offenses when he fatally shot Officer Toney on Oct. 20, WSB reported.
According to juvenile court records, Maynard carried out numerous videotaped gang initiations or “beat-ins” at Shiloh High School in July of 2016, and later told police he was the leader of his crew.
The gang was also responsible for a series of crimes in the area, police said.
Prosecutors told Gwinnet County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Waller that Maynard “was in need of supervision, treatment, and rehabilitation,” Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.
Later that year, Maynard attempted to run from Gwinnett police, and was found in possession of ammunition and drug paraphernalia at the time of his arrest.
“He stated he did not have a gun, [and that] he just had a magazine and bullets,” an officer’s report read, according to WSB.
"He was pretty clearly headed in a bad direction," Porter told the news outlet. "He clearly was showing signs that he needed a stronger intervention than maybe the local court and the local probation are capable of doing.”
Prosecutors again asked Waller to keep Maynard in custody in March of 2017.
“The state argued to have him treated as a designated felon,” Porter explained. “He would have been better served, had he gotten a more stringent program to follow.”
But instead of imposing a five-year sentence to a juvenile facility, Waller ordered the teen to serve two years on probation.
Just one year later, the judge released him from probation altogether, and claimed Maynard had “made satisfactory adjustment” while on supervision, WSB reported.
"He was basically turned back in to the environment that created him," Porter said.
Thirteen months later, officers responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle near Shiloh Middle School where the occupants were reported to possibly be smoking marijuana.
Gwinnett County Sergeant Jake Smith told reporters that two officers approached the vehicle without their guns drawn, and suddenly at least one occupant inside of the vehicle shot at them through the vehicle's glass.
Officers returned fire, and the suspect vehicle fled the scene.
The suspect vehicle crashed about one mile away, and Maynard and his accomplice fled on foot.
Officer Toney was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He later succumbed to his injuries, according to Sgt. Smith.
He was killed just six days before his three-year anniversary with the department. He was unmarried, and his family lives out-of-state.
Maynard was later shot and killed by police after he refused to surrender, and threatened officers with a lawn mower blade following an extensive manhunt, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
His accomplice, 19-year-old Isaiah Pretlow, has been charged with aggravated assault, WSB reported.
Waller refused to comment about his failure to sentence Maynard to a restricted facility, and said he could not talk about specific cases, according to the news outlet.