East Point, Ga. (AP) – A grand jury on Tuesday returned eight counts of charges against two law enforcement officers in connection with the 2016 murder of a man who was shot 76 times while trying to arrest a fugitive in the Atlanta area.
Eric Heinz, assistant chief inspector of the U.S. Marshall’s Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force, and Christopher Hutchins, a Clayton County police officer working with the task force, have been formally charged with criminal murder, aggravated assault, theft, making false statements and breaking the law. Oath by a public officer, news outlet reports.
Jamarion Robinson, 26, was shot 76 times by police on August 5, 2016, when officers tried to enter his apartment, a medical examiner reported. Law enforcement believes Robinson was responsible for pointing a gun at Atlanta officers and fleeing, according to authorities.
It was not immediately clear if Heinz or Hutchinson had a lawyer who could comment on their behalf.
Attorney Gerald Griggs, who is close to Robinson’s family, said the family celebrated the decision, which they have been waiting for five years.
A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said officers were trying to issue warrants against Robinson, which was issued by Atlanta Police and Guinness County Police in the suburbs of Atlanta. A private detective hired by Robinson’s mother uncovered evidence of direct fire where her son’s body lay. Robinson Clark was a college football player at Atlanta University and Tuskegee University and had no criminal record.
There is no body-camera video of the shooting. At the time, federal policies did not help U.S. marshals or local police officers wear body cameras. Cell phone video from outside the apartment where the shooting took place captured a three-minute shooting scene.
Robinson’s family said their son, who was suffering from a mental illness, was at his girlfriend’s house when 16 officers broke down the door.
“More than 90 rounds were fired at my son, a flash-bang grenade was hurled at him and he was set on fire. Someone climbed the stairs and shot him twice more in the body. He was then handcuffed and drugged on a flight of stairs, ”Monteria Robinson told a news conference in June 2020.
The case was delayed several times before a grand jury due to the latest coronavirus epidemic.
Paul Howard, a former Fulton County District Attorney, said the investigation into the case was blocked due to officers refusing to cooperate and the absence of body camera footage. But when Howard lost his position to Fanny Willis, the new prosecutor promised swift action.
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the grand jury’s action, saying late Tuesday that it was waiting for a copy of the complaint.