AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Leonard Pitts: Georgia cop shooting as outrageous as Freddie Gray's death

The AJC investigation into the Caroline Small police shooting death in South Georgia continues to draw national attention. On Wednesday, nationally-syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts said Small's 2010 death is

every bit as outrageous as those of Oscar Grant, Eric Garner,Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice, but has received only a fraction of the attention.

Pitts column, which is getting picked up by newspapers from California to Maine, says the Justice For Caroline Small group represents a significant reminder that police violence is not just an issue that black Americans should be concerned with:

In a nation that has come to think of the police shooting of unarmed people and the protests thereof as a black thing, they are an anomaly. Visit JusticeForCaroline.com and you will find, as one told an AJC reporter, “old-time, white middle-class people.”

As such, they provide a wordless yet eloquent reminder that, although African Americans bear the brunt of our unwillingness to demand accountability for police misbehavior, unchecked power ultimately has no racial loyalties. The refusal to understand that is a dangerous luxury none of us can afford.

The case first drew national attention last summer after an AJC/Channel 2 Action News investigation reported how the Glynn County Police Department interfered with the GBI investigation of the shooting and how Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson took extraordinary steps in the grand jury that helped clear the officers.

Then, in November, four ex-prosecutors in Glynn County who read our initial investigation came forward to say Johnson violated her prosecutor ethics and betrayed her duty to uphold justice. Columbia Journalism Review called the investigation one of its favorite pieces of local journalism in 2015.

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About the Author

Brad Schrade is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the AJC’s investigative team.