WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — Authorities have asked residents in southeastern Georgia to turn over any video taken of a traffic stop where a police officer has been accused of shooting at Black children who were running away from the scene.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday that there is no evidence suggesting the Waycross officer fired at the fleeing minors, ages 9, 12 and 14. Investigators said a different officer did fire shots — but that was when two teenagers who were still in the car drove at the officer. Nobody was hurt by the gunfire.
The GBI said no body camera footage was taken of the Saturday morning traffic stop, nor of the officer allegedly shooting at the three children.
GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said the officer attempted to turn on the body camera but failed, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Waycross police don’t have dashcam video.
On Saturday, the three younger children, along with a 15-year-old and 16-year-old, were followed by police after an officer witnessed the car run through a stop sign, authorities said.
Investigators said the vehicle stopped and the three younger children got out and ran, prompting one officer to follow them in his patrol car before turning back.
A second officer approached the vehicle from the front when it began driving toward him, the GBI said. That officer fired multiple shots at the vehicle as the 16- and 15-year-old boys were still inside. No one was shot.
Father Dominique Goodman Sr. told WJXT-TV that he heard screaming and stepped outside. Goodman said he saw the three younger children running and heard gunshots in the background.
“We open the door, we see my 9-year-old, my 12-year-old and a 14-year-old running from the police behind them with gunshots coming behind them,” Goodman said. “We go down the street and we see our 15-year-old and our 16-year-old on the ground.”
Waycross police said both teenagers inside the car were arrested on charges of illegal possession of a firearm by a minor. The 16-year-old driver was also charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless driving, running a stop sign and driving without a license.
Police also said the two officers were placed on administrative leave while the GBI investigates at the request of the police department.