Killing of Greg Gunn
|Date||February 25, 2016|
|Time||around 3:20 am|
|Location||Montgomery, Alabama, US|
|Convicted||Aaron Cody Smith|
|Sentence||14 years in prison|
The killing of Greg Gunn occurred on the morning of February 25, 2016, in Montgomery, Alabama. Gunn, a 58-year-old African-American man, was shot and killed near his home after fleeing from a stop-and-frisk initiated by Aaron Cody Smith, a white police officer. Smith was charged with murder and indicted by a grand jury in 2016. The case came to trial in late 2019 following a change of venue to Ozark, Alabama. Smith was found guilty of manslaughter, and, in January 2020, was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Gregory Gunn lived with his mother in the Mobile Heights neighborhood in Montgomery, Alabama. The neighborhood had experienced a number of burglaries around the time of the incident. According to Montgomery Police officer Aaron Cody Smith, Gunn matched the description of a burglary suspect: "dark clothing, black male".
Around 3:20 am on February 25, 2016, Gunn was walking home unarmed from a card game when he encountered Smith, who was patrolling the neighborhood. Smith stopped Gunn and performed a stop-and-frisk; during the encounter, Gunn fled. Smith pursued, initially attempting to use a Taser to disable Gunn, and when that failed he began striking Gunn with his baton. According to Smith's later testimony, Gunn then picked up a painter's pole, which caused Smith to fire his service weapon in self-defense. Smith shot seven times, hitting Gunn five times and killing him.
Smith was placed on administrative leave following the incident and was arrested and charged with murder a week later following an Alabama Bureau of Investigation inquiry. A grand jury indicted him for murder in November 2016. He was originally going to be tried in Montgomery, but the trial was moved to Ozark in the white-majority Dale County at the request of his defense attorneys. In the request to move the trial, Smith's defense attorneys said that racial prejudice in Montgomery, media coverage of the shooting, and the actions of city officials would all affect the jury. They also described Smith as "the first and only Montgomery Police Officer ever to be arrested and charged immediately after an officer-involved shooting." Eight judges recused themselves from the trial.
During the trial, Smith testified that Gunn had grabbed a metal painter's pole during the fight, at which point he escalated to using his gun. Prosecutors argued that Gunn could not have picked up the pole based on photographs from the crime scene which showed a hat in Gunn's hand. A state investigator also testified that Gunn's fingerprints were not found on the pole. They also emphasized that Smith had given several different accounts of the fight in the years between the shooting and the trial. Smith had not turned on his body or dashboard cameras before the stop, so several details of the incident were unclear.
On November 22, 2019, a jury found Smith guilty of the lesser included charge of manslaughter. Following the verdict, Gunn's brother Franklin said: "They brought this case to a very conservative county, expecting a different outcome...But I believe that we have seen the best of Alabama today. One bad apple in a bunch has been weeded out." On January 29, 2020, Smith was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was released on an appeal bond in March 2020 while appealing the conviction. In May 2021 the appeal was denied. 
Wrongful death suit
- Shooting of Bernard Whitehurst
- List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States, February 2016
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- "Ex-officer gets 14 years for killing unarmed black man". AP News. January 29, 2020. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
- Robinson, Carol (March 6, 2020). "Montgomery ex-officer can be free during manslaughter appeal, judge rules". AL.com. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
- Harper, Brad; Brown, Melissa. "Montgomery settles lawsuit with family of Greg Gunn who was killed by police officer AC Smith". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved August 4, 2020.