Atlanta Prosecutor Sues DOJ For Blocking Investigation Of Incident Where Cops Shot A Man 59 Times

from the 92-bullets,-875-days dept

A case that involves some shocking numbers has resulted in a lawsuit against the DOJ. An investigation into a raid that ended with law enforcement officers putting 59 bullets into the body of an Atlanta resident has dead-ended and it appears to be because the DOJ doesn't want to talk about it.

Jamarion Robinson, a 26-year-old student and football player at Clark Atlanta University, was shot and killed by a team of local and federal officers who broke down the door to his girlfriend’s apartment on Aug. 5, 2016, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Atlanta federal court by the office of Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.   

The DA says he has repeatedly attempted to work with the DOJ to obtain the personnel files and training materials of the officers responsible for Robinson’s death, all to no avail.

“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 complaint states.

The opening of the DA's lawsuit [PDF] doesn't explain what Atlanta prosecutors did for the first 275 days, but it does point out the DOJ has been blocking this investigation for nearly two years at this point.

Having been stymied for more than 600 days from receiving any documents from the Department of Justice related to the shooting of Jamarion Robinson, Plaintiff Office of the Fulton County District Attorney (“Plaintiff” or “the District Attorney”) brings this action against Defendant United States Department of Justice (“Defendant” or “the DOJ”) to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (“FOIA”).

This FOIA lawsuit is only part of the federal government's problems. The family of Jamarion Robinson has also sued the officers involved in the shooting, which includes the US Marshals Service. This lawsuit appears to be on hold at the moment as everyone suing over the shooting attempts to obtain documents related to Robinson's killing.

The numbers mentioned above -- 59 bullet holes, 600 days of DOJ stonewalling -- are just part of the picture. There's also the number of officers involved and the number of bullets expended to take the life of someone law enforcement apparently had little reason to suspect might respond violently.

On August 5, 2016, 14 law enforcement officers from eight separate local municipal police departments, along with at least one United States Marshal, traveled to the Parkside Camp Creek Luxury Apartments in Atlanta, Georgia to execute a State of Georgia arrest warrant for Jamarion Robinson (hereinafter “Mr. Robinson”). The state arrest warrant alleged that Mr. Robinson committed an aggravated assault in violation of Georgia Code Annotated 16-5-21, a state crime. Mr. Robinson was not charged with any federal crime, and there was not a federal arrest warrant pending for Mr. Robinson.

The DA's lawsuit notes Robinson's only legal problem up to this point was a traffic violation. It also points out Robinson suffered from schizophrenia, which might explain his uncharacteristic decision to allegedly point a gun at police officers (and three tenants of a nearby apartment) days before he was gunned down in his apartment. Supposedly, Robinson fired a shot (or three shots… depending on which statement you read) at the officers attempting to serve a warrant which apparently justified this response.

[T]he officers knocked down the door to the apartment and immediately commenced firing approximately 51 shots from outside into the apartment without any known provocation and with reckless disregard for the safety of anyone else in the apartment and surrounding apartment units.

The officers then entered the apartment and fired approximately 41 additional shots from weapons, including a 9mm submachine gun, a .40mm submachine gun, and a .40 Glock pistol.

After officers fired more than 90 bullets into Robinson's apartment, some claimed Robinson fired at them first. But statements made by other officers and the results of the ensuing search punch holes in this narrative.

At the conclusion of the shooting, a firearm was located, which the officers claimed that Mr. Robinson fired at them three times. However, when the firearm was recovered, it was damaged and inoperable. Moreover, in an investigative report completed by Officer Steve Schreckengost, he did not state that the officers entered the premises because Mr. Robinson was shooting. Rather, Officer Schreckengost claims they entered to protect others inside the apartment from Mr. Robinson, although it was clear from their surveillance no one else was in the apartment.

They wanted to "protect" others from Robinson, but no one involved was interested in Robinson's safety. The team of officers was aware of Robinson's mental health issues and had spoken to his family prior to the raid. But not a single member of the 14-person, multi-office "task force" did anything that might have resulted in a peaceful arrest, like ask for advice, assistance, or third-party search consent from Robinson's family or his current roommate.

Six hundred days of DOJ stonewalling roughly aligns with the agency's reshuffled priorities following Trump's presidential win. The incoming AG (Jeff Sessions) yanked funding from the DOJ's civil rights department and said the agency would no longer be investigating the actions of local law enforcement. If there are any documents to be obtained from the DOJ, they're likely in the process of being massaged into exonerative shape before being released.

Filed Under: atlanta, doj, evidence, jamarion robinson, police shootings


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  1. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Jan 2019 @ 6:32pm

    Do they know what they are doing?

    >"If there are any documents to be obtained from the DOJ, they're likely in the process of being massaged into exonerative shape before being released."

    So...my question is, is the DOJ licensed to operate a massage parlor?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Jan 2019 @ 6:43pm

    'Documents? No idea what you mean.'

    If there are any documents to be obtained from the DOJ, they're likely in the process of being massaged into exonerative shape before being released.

    Assuming they aren't accidentally deleted by a 'computer glitch' or 'routine maintenance' anyway. The fact that they are completely stonewalling like this leads me to suspect that they are hiding some pretty damning information, and I wouldn't put it past them to destroy it before it can be pried loose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2019 @ 8:06pm

    Re: 'Documents? No idea what you mean.'

    Funny how Google and other platforms are supposedly capable of knowing when a file is infringing the instant before it's uploaded, but a smaller database managed by the DOJ is so fragile things just can't be located if someone sneezes in their general direction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2019 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Do they know what they are doing?

    Does it involve bullets?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Pixelation, 4 Jan 2019 @ 10:18pm

    This makes me think of what happens in the medical community. If you have a sore knee and go to a physical therapist, he ill suggest physical therapy. Go to a surgeon and he will suggest surgery. Go to an officer an he will shoot your ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 4 Jan 2019 @ 11:45pm

    What shape was that again?

    ...massaged into exonerative shape...

    More like into "shredded shape," probably.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 2:26am

    i'll bet a dime to a dollar that every member of 'law enforcement' was laughing their asses off at what was going on, especially every time they pulled a trigger! how can any officer justify anything that happened here, let alone firing the number of shots they did and actually hitting someone with 59 bullets? this puts a complete new meaning to the term 'overkill'! what is it with police officers that makes them think that killing someone is their God given right? why does a person have to be killed, rather than arrested? why not just disarm the 'perp'? a single bullet does that, making the person unable to be a threat, be 'arrestable' but still be alive. this fixation with killing every person that is even suspected of wrong doing is pretty disgraceful! and then expect to get away without even having to answer any questions, let alone go to court! any wonder confidence in law enforcement is at an all time low? no one dare report anything/anyone to them in case they get shot to death!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 2:42am

    Re:

    With that number of armed officers, one shot will unleash a fusillade, as many trigger fingers twitch to the noise of a shot, and that cause more shots to be fired because the number of shots already fired indicate a serious problem. Getting everybody to stop firing becomes a problem, especially of there is no organized tactical command, which appears common when officers from multiple units are involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 2:54am

    Newsflash. No one gives a shit about this stupid fucking website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 3:12am

    We're heart breakers and life takers, we shoot 'em full of lead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 4:57am

    Charge them with murder

    1. Charge them with murder.
    2. Present evidence (unarmed man shot 59 times).
    3. They release evidence against or go to jail.
    4. Profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 5 Jan 2019 @ 5:03am

    Read for content...

    Look at what's in the article. Forget the "numbers", look at what it *says*.

    This is a Prosecutor suing the DoJ for FOIA paperwork.

    Not a Defense Attorney. A State Prosecutor.

    Fourteen officers from EIGHT jurisdictions, including "at least one Federal Marshal".

    To serve an Ag Assault warrant? A Task Force doesn't get assigned to people who have a police record of a single traffic ticket.

    Not only is it a task force, but according to the article at least two full automatic weapons, a 9mm and a .40, were issued to the officers tasked with executing the Warrant. That's a ton of paperwork, and not something done for a simple aggravated assault warrant pickup.

    HAS the DoJ stonewalled them, or simply claimed they don't have anything? They will not release any information on anyone in the Marshal Service. What could they have on members of seven local jurisdictions?

    Did the Prosecutor file fourteen requests, one for each involved officer, or a single filing? If it was a single filing, he's not going to get an answer other than "this is fourteen requests misfiled as one".

    The story here is what lead up to a Marshal and seven police jurisdictions being issued automatic weapons to execute a simple arrest warrant, not that a Prosecutor can't get records from the DoJ that they likely don't even have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 5:25am

    Re: Charge them with murder

    They are all on the side of the thin blue line that allows people free passes for killing others. Unless you have overwhelming evidence of the specific person being the single killer, ever one of them would get off with nothing on their records. They laughed and boasted about what they were going to do before they even got to his door. Then they killed him. Sounds like a lynching to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 5:57am

    Dude must've said something bad about Saudi Arabia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 5:58am

    A .40mm submachine gun?

    That's got to be the world's smallest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 7:07am

    Re:

    Anyone tell Shiva Ayyadurai that?

    How's that Keith Lipscomb fund of yours coming along, bro?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 10:23am

    Re: Read for content...

    ^This.

    Also: Why is the DoJ the apparent repository of responsive documents here? What the hell about every other police force involved? One US Marshal, and ... the DoJ just took everything connected?

    Further, when cops fire that many rounds, do they ever consider that shit like gypsum board does not stop a fucking bullet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 5 Jan 2019 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Read for content...

    This is a Prosecutor filing suit. He has Subpoena Powers. As does the Judge presiding. WHY is an FOIA suit being filed? If the DoJ is ignoring the Court, we're into an entire new realm of the system itself.

    Consider that there are fourteen LEO's, spanning seven police jurisdictions and a Federal Marshal involved.

    Nobody likes cops. Especially other cops. Cops themselves especially despise anyone with power over them - like Federal Marshals.

    WHAT caused the formation of this supposed "Task Force" to serve a STATE-issued Warrant for an Ag-Assault Arrest?

    SOMETHING had seven Police Captains (or higher) order these officers to work with the other jurisdictions?

    WHY was a Federal Marshal involved *at all*?

    WHO issued submachineguns to these officers? That isn't something done lightly - I don't think I've ever even heard a rumor of such being done before, even when SWAT teams were involved.

    We'll likely never know - this reeks of "national security" being behind it. I can't think of any other power that would force so many jurisdictions to work together over something so apparently banal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 12:05pm

    "...including a 9mm submachine gun, a .40mm submachine gun, and a .40 Glock pistol."

    A 40mm submachine gun??? 40mm is a fucking gernade launcher caliber. There'd be nothing left of the scene.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Jan 2019 @ 12:18pm

    It does smack of a mob-style hit.

    It does affirm that law enforcement conducts itself and should be regarded as an organised criminal syndicate.

    We'll probably need to organized another such mob to displace them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    k><>l, 5 Jan 2019 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Charge them with murder

    Yup -- that Georgia DA should formally indict those LEO's or shut up.

    Seeking the personnel records of those LEO's is stupid -- they are not evidence of the crime, even if completely turned over to that DA.

    Obviously that DA totally lacks "primary" evidence of a crime and can not succeed in court.

    Prosecuting any LEO's anywhere is unusual and rarely successful. DA needs at least one of those LEO's to come clean and testify against the shooters. That ain't gonna happen.

    Justice fails frequently in the American system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Except you apparently.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Christenson, 5 Jan 2019 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Typo in the caliber...

    .40mm --> .40 caliber!
    It's a typo, silly!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 5 Jan 2019 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read for content...

    The only thing that explains it is an officer was killed. Obviously it was an undercover officer, otherwise details would be known.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Jan 2019 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Read for content...

    Where did you get this? It doesn't appear to be in the article above.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Jan 2019 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Read for content...

    With 8 separate municipal agencies, plus one federal agency, this is a good question. Why is the DOJ holding all the responsive documents, or better put, why did not the DA go after those 8 other agencies for their documents? There is a possibility that the DOJ swept in and confiscated all such documents, but if they did, under what authority did they do so?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2019 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Typo in the caliber...

    It's a typo, silly!

    Really? No shit, genius?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 6 Jan 2019 @ 2:13am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 5th, 2019 @ 12:05pm

    Not 40mm. .40mm, less than half a millimeter.

    The world's smallest machine gun. I suspect they meant .40cal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 6 Jan 2019 @ 2:14am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 5th, 2019 @ 2:54am

    "Newsflash. No one gives a shit about this stupid fucking website."

    I do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2019 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    One would hope LEOs are given proper training, but the evidence says otherwise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2019 @ 7:48am

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 5th, 2019 @ 12:05pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Jan 2019 @ 8:00am

    40mm is an anti-tank cannon.

    .40 cal is uncommon for handguns. The military likes .45 automatics for their service sidearms. Then .44 magnums are big in Hollywood for loose-cannon don't-play-by-the-rules action-hero cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2019 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Read for content...

    Either you've got an actual hit squad being formed of the willing and able, or you've got parallel construction going on and the family being caught between department budgets.

    Either way, pretty disheartening any government would act this way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Boneman69 (profile), 7 Jan 2019 @ 7:06am

    Re: A .40mm submachine gun?

    It shoots hypodermic needles ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2019 @ 8:14am

    Re: It does smack of a mob-style hit.

    They are the Blue Line Gang. The biggest gang in the country. Nothing but a bunch of Nazi Thug PIGS!!! Just more of a very, very long list of inexcusable behavior. They know they can get away with it. Just look at the in your face coverup going on in this case. They just don't care.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2019 @ 9:39am

    Re: 40mm is an anti-tank cannon.

    No, .40 caliber is not uncommon.. tthere are about one trillion .40 cal bullets inn the unfired as of yet. Many officers. use a .40 cal and are issued them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 7 Jan 2019 @ 10:45am

    One trillion bullets

    Huh. I thought the step down from .45 was 9mm which is pretty closer to 0.357 cal. Shows what I know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 7 Jan 2019 @ 10:45am

    Pretty closer

    Posting before coffee again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2019 @ 10:58am

    Re: One trillion bullets

    Yeah - I guess that a 45 is too much for some officers while the 9 is too little, so they go for a 40. I think the US military went to 9 as a service pistol some time ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    nasch (profile), 7 Jan 2019 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: One trillion bullets

    I think the US military went to 9 as a service pistol some time ago.

    According to WP, they use .45, .40, and 9mm.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_pistol#Modern_issue

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 7:25am

    Re: 40mm is an anti-tank cannon.

    The military likes .45 automatics for their service sidearms.

    The military has not used .45 on a regular basis since the mid 1980's, when it switched to the 9mm Beretta M9.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    nasch (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: 40mm is an anti-tank cannon.

    The military has not used .45 on a regular basis since the mid 1980's, when it switched to the 9mm Beretta M9.

    If you have a reference for that you might consider updating the Wikipedia article. It indicates the M1911A1 in .45 ACP is still in use, with a citation needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 12:29pm

    Service pistols

    It's more complex than that (so I'm learning!) in fact, for many duties, service sidearms are being phased out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 9:56am

    Wonder who this guy assaulted, we need a copy of that complaint.

    Governors mistress or something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 10 Jan 2019 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Read for content...

    There's nothing in the story to indicate that an officer died, true. But a "battalion" of officers was sent to kill a "fly." That happens most often after an officer has died.

    So it seems likely that an officer died that we don't know about. Perhaps an undercover officer?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 4:36pm

    Re:

    A LEO, or a Capricorn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Kali, 13 Jan 2019 @ 2:33pm

    Does anyone know the outcome of this case? Or is it still going on. I am writing a paper on it. Thank you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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