Shooting of Greg Gunn

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Shooting of Greg Gunn
DateFebruary 25, 2016 (2016-02-25)
Timearound 3:20 AM
LocationMontgomery, Alabama, USA
TypeShooting
DeathsGreg Gunn
ConvictedAaron Cody Smith
ConvictionsManslaughter
Sentence14 years in prison

The Shooting of Greg Gunn occurred on the morning of February 25, 2016 in Montgomery, Alabama. Gunn, a 58-year-old African-American man[1], was shot and killed near his home by Aaron Cody Smith, a white police officer. Smith was charged with murder following the incident and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for manslaughter in January 2020.

Background[edit]

Gregory Gunn lived with his mother in the Mobile Heights neighborhood in Montgomery, Alabama.[2] The neighborhood had experienced a number of burglaries around the time of the incident, and according to Smith, Gunn matched the description of a burglary suspect - "dark clothing, black male."[1]

Confrontation[edit]

Around 3:20 AM on February 25, 2016, Gunn was walking home 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.[2] Smith pursued, initially attempting to use a Taser to disable Gunn, and when that failed striking him with his baton.[3] According to Smith's later testimony, Gunn then picked up a painter's pole, which caused Smith to fire his weapon in self-defense.[4] Smith shot seven times, hitting Gunn five times and killing him.[3]

Trial[edit]

Smith was placed on administrative leave following the incident[5] and was arrested and charged with murder a week later following a State Bureau of Investigation inquiry.[6] He was originally going to be tried in Montgomery, but the trial was moved to Ozark at the request of his defense attorneys.[7] The request was made due to protests in Montgomery and concerns that media coverage of the incident would affect the jury. Additionally, eight judges recused themselves from the trial.[2]

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 showing Gunn holding a hat in his hand at the time of death.[8] They also emphasized that Smith had given several different accounts of the fight in the years between the shooting and the trial.[9] Smith had not turned on his body or dashboard cameras before the stop, so several details of the incident were unclear.[10]

On November 22, 2019, Smith was found guilty of manslaughter,[2][8][10] and on January 29, 2020, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Brown, Melissa. "Greg Gunn murder trial: Who was the 58-year-old man shot by a Montgomery police officer?". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  2. ^ a b c d "White Alabama Officer Guilty of Manslaughter for Killing Black Man". The New York Times. November 22, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Brown, Melissa; Fiscus, Kirsten. "Greg Gunn trial Day 2: Thick sweatshirt could have impeded Taser, pathologist testifies". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Montgomery officer Aaron Cody Smith resigns after manslaughter conviction". WSFA 12 News. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Witness, family of victim speak about Montgomery officer-involved shooting". WSFA 12 News. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Montgomery police officer charged in death of Gregory Gunn". WSFA 12 News. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Montgomery police officer requests change of venue for murder trial". WSFA 12 News. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Gregory Gunn: jury convicts white officer in shooting death of black man". The Guardian. November 22, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  9. ^ Brown, Melissa; Fiscus, Kirsten. "Closing argument: AC Smith a 'bad apple,' district attorney says in final statement". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  10. ^ a b Brown, Melissa (November 22, 2019). "Alabama cop who chased, beat and shot black man after stop-and-frisk guilty of manslaughter". USA Today. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "Ex-officer gets 14 years for killing unarmed black man". AP News. January 29, 2020. Retrieved April 27, 2020.