Earlier today a Grand Jury ruled it did not have sufficient evidence that Officer David Jannot used excessive force in the shooting of Charles Smith during an arrest on Augusta Avenue last summer. Therefore criminal charges against the officer will not be pursued.
Mayor Edna Jackson said, "The Grand Jury today issued a recommendation to the District Attorney in the case of one of our Police Officers and his involvement in the death of one of our citizens. I am not here to comment whether that was the right decision or the wrong decision. I am here to say that this is a decision that we as citizens must respect."
The Mayor continued:
"Our District Attorney placed this matter in the hands of 23 citizens whose backgrounds represent the diversity of Savannah. The members of this Grand Jury are our neighbors, and our co-workers. They are the people we see every day. These citizens have dedicated their time to serve on the Grand Jury, to carefully consider all information, and to make a recommendation on how to move forward. I thank them for this important public service," she said.
"I am proud of how our community has responded since that terrible day on September 18th in West Savannah. Our community advocates have made their concerns heard, while remaining civil and responsible. Our clergy have stepped forward, and led by example. Our Police have acted as professionals, respecting the rights of demonstrators while keeping our community safe," said the Mayor.
"For the past five months, we have shown the world how a community can react when faced with a crisis. Throughout our history, Savannah has shown the world how it can be done. Let us continue to do so today."
Savannah/Chatham Metro Police Chief Lumpkin said:
"From the moment of this incident, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department under the leadership of Chief Julie Tolbert pledged that it would be a transparent investigation, that we’d turn it over to external experts, and that we would cooperate fully," Lumpkin said.
"Now that the Grand Jury — citizens of our county and city — have spoken and made their decision based on facts, physical evidence and forensics, we in the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Department call upon all our citizens, our entire community to continue to be objective and process this decision in an objective manner. There was an extensive investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. There was a transcripted Grand Jury process. The District Attorney spent a significant period of time preparing and presenting all known facts," he said.
"We ask for peace and tranquility from all citizens as the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department maintains the peace, protects our citizens, and maintains order."