Police officer won't face trial for suspect's death

March 23, 2004

Sylvester - A Sylvester police officer won't be tried for the death of a man in his custody. Tuesday, the grand jury no-billed Charles Thurmond on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct in the death of Herman Jackson.

February 20, 2004, Jackson suffered a broken larynx during an arrest. Assistant Chief Thurmond wrapped his arm around Jackson's neck to subdue him during the arrest.

The death enraged many people in the community who rallied in support of Jackson's family. They say the justice system failed.

"We anticipated it would happen like that, but still we're very upset. And, we would like to see some justice done because we don't feel this is a fair decision that's been made by the grand jury," said City Councilman Dr. Bruce Washington.

The City Council is holding a meeting Friday to decide if Thurmond and the two other officers involved will keep their jobs. "With the grand jury giving their verdict on the situation, it's time for the City to begin to talk about what our process will be," said Sylvester Mayor Bill Yearta.

Thurmond and officers Beth Pundavela and Brad Callaway remain on administrative leave.

Posted at 7:00PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com