Map: Georgia's officer-involved shootings under GBI investigation
By Madeline McGee
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Since the beginning of 2018, Georgia has seen 15 officer-involved shootings. Thirteen being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are shown on this map.
Among the shootings, nine ended in the death of the suspect and one resulted in the death of a police officer. Three people were shot by law enforcement after pulling out fake guns.
For a Q and A on officer-involved shootings, scroll below the map.
What is an "officer-involved shooting?"
In general, law enforcement agencies define an officer-involved shooting as any event where an officer fires a weapon at another person, even if the shooting was accidental or did not injure the suspect. The term doesn't include shootings where a person fired at an officer or shootings where an officer is simply present.
No agency officially tracks all officer-involved shootings in the state, but law enforcement agencies often call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist in investigating officer-involved shootings, so they keep the most reliable figures. This year, the GBI has investigated 13 out of the 15 shootings the AJC is aware of.
Included in the tally are two incidents the AJC is aware of that were not investigated by the GBI: a Jan. 5 incident in Sandy Springs involving the FBI and a Feb. 12 incident in Decatur involving a Walton county sheriff's deputy.
Is the number of officer-involved shootings significant?
If shootings continue to occur at this rate for the remainder of the year, Georgia can expect about 116 shootings by the end of December. This would be an increase from the 97 officer-involved shootings the GBI investigated in 2017. The number of shootings appears to have been steadily inching upward for the past three years.
What does this mean?
GBI spokesman Bahan Rich said the trend doesn't necessarily mean there are more shootings involving police: instead it may indicate police agencies are more likely to request the GBI investigate shooting incidents. Law enforcement agencies aren't required to request GBI investigations when an officer-involved shooting occurs, although many choose to do so. He said the number of agencies that have requested the GBI investigate officer-involved shootings has gradually increased over the years to include nearly every agency in Georgia.
The GBI has been investigating all officer-involved shootings that result in serious injury or death for the Atlanta Police Department since 2016.