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Members of a U.S. Marshals task force shot Jamarion Robinson, a 26-year-old Black man with paranoid schizophrenia, 59 times during a raid on his girlfriend’s home in 2016.
Now, two of the officers who fired their weapons in the deadly incident have been charged with murder and other crimes, giving Robinson’s family the closure they’ve been seeking for more than five years.
“I felt like this day wasn’t going to ever come,” Jamarion’s mother, Monteria Robinson, told 11 Alive Tuesday.
On Aug. 5, a U.S. Marshals task force tracked down Robinson, who had a warrant out for his arrest, at his girlfriend’s house in East Point, Georgia. East Point Police, who were included in the task force, busted into the apartment in search of Robinson, reported that the 26-year-old was armed, and fired a single shot toward them.
The officers on the scene responded with 59 of their own shots, leaving Robinson with 76 bullet wounds, including where some of the bullets exited his body, according to a medical examiner’s report. The officers also used a flashbang before handcuffing Robinson and dragging his body down a flight of stairs, according to previously published reports.
No body camera footage exists of the shooting as officers with the task force were not required to wear them at the time. But a nearby resident who filmed the incident from outside the apartment recorded nearly three minutes of audible gunfire.
“My son’s body is all the body cam you need,” Monteria Robinson said. “I wake up every day with anxiety. I’ve been in fight mode ever since my son was killed. I want closure.”
During investigations of the shooting, several issues cropped up. For example, the gun that police say Robinson fired was inoperable and didn’t have his fingerprints on it, according to the family’s civil suit filing against the officers involved and obtained by Al Jazeera. And a private detective hired by the Robinson family found evidence that someone shot Jamarion twice while standing over him.
The U.S. Marshals Service did not immediately respond to VICE News’ requests for comment.
Now, Officer Eric Heinze, an assistant chief inspector with the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, and Clayton County police officer Kristopher Hutchens were indicted by a Fulton County grand jury Tuesday. According to the indictment, the two officers fired the weapons that killed Robinson.
They both face charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, and two counts each of violation of oath by a public officer and making false statements.
At the time, Robison had been staying with his girlfriend after a dispute with his mother weeks earlier. He allegedly poured gasoline under his bed and in front of his mother’s bedroom door, but a friend stopped him before he could do anything more.
Before the raid, his mother had told police her son had recently been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had stopped taking his medication and that they should get him help, she told 11 Alive. But she wasn’t aware of the warrant out for his arrest for allegedly pointing a gun at police during an encounter at a friend’s home a week before.
Police raids, which often lead to the deaths of innocent people, have become a major point of contention in the national fight for police reform. In 2020, the shooting death of Breonna Taylor prompted her home city of Louisville and the state of Virginia to ban no-knock warrants, which don’t require police to announce themselves before a raid. Several other states, including Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania, have proposed similar laws.
The indictment in Robinson’s death was a long time coming. Former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told the Robinson family that he would investigate as early as 2016, but he allegedly came up against resistance from the U.S. Justice Department, which he says refused to turn over any documents related to the shooting and kept officers from being interviewed. COVID-19 also delayed the grand jury decision.
Howard then lost his bid for reelection last year to Fani Willis last year. Willis immediately brought the case before a grand jury earlier this year. The Fulton County District Attorney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
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