Prosecutor Sues DOJ For Not Sharing Shooting Investigation Details With Him
Atlanta, GA – A Georgia prosecutor has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for its refusal to give information about how police officers shot a man in 2016.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said federal authorities are blocking county prosecutors from interviewing the officers who shot and killed Jamarion Robinson, according to the Associated Press.
A U.S. Marshals task force shot Robinson, 26, while they were serving a warrant for his arrest in August of 2016, according to WMAZ.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the day after the shooting that witnesses and videos indicated the officers gave repeated commands for Robinson to drop a weapon.
Officers reported that Robinson shot at them three times, and a gun was recovered on scene.
However, the lawsuit claims that "when the firearm was recovered, it was damaged and inoperable." The damage was not described and it's not clear if the gun was damaged in the gunfight.
After the shooting, federal authorities launched an investigation.
Howard said the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to turn over any documents despite numerous requests the past two years via the Freedom of Information Act.
"We've never done anything like this," Howard said about the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. "Our hope was that the federal authorities would cooperate and provide this office and this family with all the information about this incident. I cannot understand why they have not done it."
"It has now been 875 days since the officers killed Mr. Robinson, and the DOJ has yet to provide any of the documents or evidence requested and has failed to provide any investigative reports relating to Mr. Robinson's death," the lawsuit states, according to NBC.
Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Page Pate isn’t involved in the case but has dealt with the federal government in many other cases. Pate said it was extraordinary unusual for a standoff like this between local and federal law enforcers.
"They stonewall plaintiffs all the time, but it is unusual for them to stonewall a district attorney who is investigating a possible crime. ... They generally cooperate when it comes to investigating serious crimes," Pate said, according to the Associated Press.
Robinson’s family filed a lawsuit in January of 2018 that names seven different agencies, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit states that police knew Robinson had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had not been taking his medication.