Grand jury joins police probe - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grand jury joins police probe

March 1, 2004

Sylvester- Even though the GBI says Sylvester police officers did nothing wrong when they arrested 37-year old Herman Jackson on the night of February 20th, the District Attorney plans to present the findings to a Grand jury later this month.

Sylvester City Attorney Tommy Coleman and Mayor Bill Yearta met behind closed doors with the GBI and District Attorney Paul Bowden to discuss the preliminary report on the death of Jackson.

"It's an ongoing investigation, so we don't have the report in our possession and won't get it really until the case is closed and presentment is made," says Coleman.

Though Coleman says he won't know the contents of the report until the Worth County Grand Jury meets on the 22nd, he says he does know the cause of death.

"It does appear that there was a tussle between these three officers. One of our officers, in an effort to subdue the arrestee, put his arm around his head and neck and they all fell forward, and apparently this gentleman passed away as a result of a broken larynx."

Coleman also says the toxicology report says that Jackson was drunk and had cocaine in his system during the night of his arrest.

District Attorney Paul Bowden refused to discuss any of the evidence or his decision to bring the case before the grand jury.

The GBI still maintains that the officers did not use excessive force, but the final decision will now remain in the hands of Worth County jurors.

Assistant Chief Charles Thurmond and the other two patrol officers remain on administrative leave. Coleman says they will not return to work until after the grand jury meets on the 22nd.

Posted at 5:25 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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