A white police officer in Montgomery, Alabama has been arrested and charged with murder for the shooting death of an unarmed 58-year old Black man, Gregory Gunn.
It was Wednesday [March 2, 2016] that city officials appeared to retract their initial beliefs that Gunn, the son of one of Montgomery’s first Black officers, was armed with anything that could have been perceived as a weapon.
It was Mayor Todd Strange who announced that the city would also seek to fire Officer Aaron Smith, 23, a member of the Montgomery police force since 2012.
“In the history of Montgomery, this is not one of our great days,” said Mayor Todd Strange.
The charges and arrest come only 6 days after Mr. Gunn’s deadly encounter with Officer Smith. Officials originally stated that Officer Smith stopped Gregory Gunn while he was walking home after a late night of work and playing cards some time after 3 a.m, believing him to be suspicious. A struggle ensued between the two men, ending with Officer Smith opening fire.
The lawyer for Smith, Mickey McDermott stated the arrest as being “political”, beliveing that authorities merely charged the officer in an attempt to prevent civil unrest.
“They have a duty to protect the public from itself sometimes,” Mr. McDermott said. “They, I believe, thought this would be the mechanism to show the public that they are trying to be honest and fair to both sides.”
Officer Smith has since been released on $150,000 bond.