Grand jury recommends charging Georgia police officer in fatal shooting


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ATLANTA — A grand jury has recommended criminal charges be considered against an Avondale Estates police officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old man, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( ) reports that James has started giving grand juries the option of reviewing fatal shootings by police officers to bring more accountability to the criminal justice system. Previously, those decisions were made primarily by local prosecutors.

"People are very sensitive and emotional — as they should be — in this country about officer-involved shootings," James said. "We made this decision with the advice of citizens. We added input from the people."

The grand jury recommended Thursday that a case involving Avondale Estates Sgt. Lynn Thomas' shooting of 20-year-old Jayvis Benjamin move forward for indictment. A separate grand jury will decide whether to indict Thomas later this year.

Police officials said Benjamin stole a car and was speeding before running a light and crashing. Authorities accused Benjamin of attacking the officer, who shot him once in the chest.

The grand jury recommended that James not pursue an indictment in five other fatal shootings by police.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

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