ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Attorney Julius B. Collins issued a news release Monday afternoon, urging District Attorney Greg Edwards to recuse himself in the case of Robert Lee Brown, who was shot by an Albany Police officer three weeks ago.
Edwards has said that he will not recuse himself.
Brown family attorney Julius Collins says he's not questioning Edwards' ethics... but he believes the best way to ensure justice is to have an outside prosecutor handle the case.
"The family just wants the matter to be presented as if this matter was being presented if the suspect that the person alleged that committed the crime was just a private citizen," said Collins.
Collins went on to say that Edwards should present the case the same he would in any death, and not do so differently, because an officer of the law shot Brown.
Here is the statement issued by Attorney Collins-
PRESS RELEASE- October 3, 2016
RE: SHOOTING DEATH OF ROBERT LEE BROWN AND THE DOUGHERTY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO PRESENT THIS MATTER TO A GRAND JURY
While the Brown family is looking for answers, they are also looking for truthful answers as well as justice. They are requesting that Prosecutor Greg Edwards recuse himself or if he is going to present this matter to the grand jury panel, that he do so in the same manner that he would normally present a matter when seeking an indictment against someone who is not a police officer. While the Brown family would like to be able to sleep a little better at night knowing that the matter will be presented before a grand jury, they can't because we have all seen matters similar to this one play out in America too many times.
Too often a Prosecutor submits a case to a grand jury panel and the outcome isn't what a large portion of the United States feels is just nor what the evidence truly says. Too often the Prosecutor has submitted a case to a grand jury panel and softballs are thrown to the police officer in what most believe is an effort to thwart the possibility of a police officer being indicted for shooting someone unjustly or in the back. Too often times the Prosecutor submits a case to a grand jury panel when a police officer is involved, the panel is used as a means to dispel any possibility of special treatment and the inability to be transparent; which we all know can and has been used as a tool in the justice system to circumvent true justice.
The manner in which the Prosecutor presents the case sheds light on the Prosecutor's inability to be transparent and whether or not the officer will be treated as any other person suspected of committing a crime. The family is asking that every witness be allowed to testify and that the Prosecutor treat Officer Derrick Williams as a normal citizen and that the laws equally be applied to him. We ask the Dougherty County District Attorney's Office to listen to the eye witness who observed the entire matter; she clearly witnessed Officer Derrick Williams shoot Mr. Brown in the back when he was running away from the officer and even asked the officer did he shoot Robert. Listen to what the officer's response was immediately after the shooting. That's not justification, its retaliation.
The Brown family is seeking the truth as well as justice in whatever form that may be. This incident is not uncommon in America. It's not uncommon in the world we live in today to turn on the television and there has been an officer involved shooting where no justice is going to be served via the criminal justice process. The Robert Lee Brown case reminds us of the Walter Scott case in North Charleston, South Carolina. In the Walter Scott case it was reported that Walter Scott became involved in a physical altercation with former Charleston police officer, Officer Michael Slager.
After the altercation Slager fired his taser at Mr. Scott that hit him and then fired his gun multiple times at Mr. Scott while Mr. Scott was fleeing. Mr. Scott died as a result of the multiple gunshot wounds that he sustained and Slager was indicted. This matter is similar to the events that took place with Mr. Robert Lee Brown; there was an alleged altercation, Mr. Brown fled, and was shot in the back by Officer Derrick Williams of the Albany Police Department. The obvious difference between the two cases is that Mr. Brown's murder was not caught on tape, however; there are witnesses. Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Troy Robinson, Eric Garner, and Deravis Rogers are just a few killed by police officers.
Enough is enough. We understand that everything is a process and every job has policy and procedures, but with allowing Officer Derrick Williams an opportunity to speak with his attorney before he spoke with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations or any investigating entity involved of his account of the events that transpired, gave him ample time to draft a narrative that may be in his favor after learning that there were witnesses and his possible defense to allow for this matter to be deemed a justified shooting. How do you justify shooing someone in the back? The family is simply asking for the truth and justice as any other family in their situation would ask.