Cobb District Attorney continues investigation of deputy-involved shooting
Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady released a statement Thursday morning stating that his office “has not made a determination of what charges, if any, will be presented to a grand jury at this time.”
The new statement comes from the D.A. after initially indicating the day before that charges would be filed against a Cobb County deputy in the shooting death of an Austell man, Johnny Bolton, during a raid on a Smyrna apartment in December 2020.
The D.A.’s statement says his office continues to investigate whether to bring charges against the officer in Bolton’s death.
Armed with a no-knock warrant, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team conducted a pre-dawn raid at a Smyrna apartment on Dec. 17, 2020. Bolton, 49, was killed during the raid by Cobb Sheriff Deputy Samuel Daniel.
After investigating the incident, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation turned over its findings to the DA’s office in March. The evidence from the GBI was presented to a grand jury on Sept. 9. After their review of the evidence, which included testimony from a GBI agent, testimony from the medical examiner, camera footage, witness statements and photographs, they determined that Deputy Samuel Daniel’s use of force was not justified under Georgia law and recommended that the DA’s office take further action in the case.
After initially indicating that it planned to bring charges to another grand jury and seek indictment, the DA’s office amended that statement saying:
“It is the District Attorney’s Office’s standard procedure to send all officer involved shooting incidents to a grand jury. If the grand jury recommends further action, there will be further investigation to determine what charges, if any, should be sent to a future grand jury. As it pertains to the officer involved shooting of Johnny Bolton, the District Attorney’s Office presented it to a grand jury which recommended further action on September 9, 2021. The incident is still an open and active investigation. For clarification, the District Attorney’s Office has not made a determination of what charges, if any, will be presented to a grand jury at this time.”
The killing of Breanna Taylor in March 2020, after Louisville police executed a no-knock warrant, led to public scrutiny and mass protest around the country. Critics say that the practice endangers both officers and the people who are being raided because of confusion which usually leads to gunfire.
Meanwhile, Bolton’s children, Diamond Bolton and Kyrie Turner, are suing the deputy in federal court and seeking damages. Their lawsuit says, “Defendant Daniel acted with conscious indifference, reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions, an intent to injure, and malice such that an award of punitive damages is authorized under federal and Georgia law.”
Bolton’s family is represented by Zack Greenamyre of Atlanta law firm Edmond, Lindsay & Atkins. Greenamyre says witnesses have said Bolton was unarmed and sleeping on the couch when Marietta Cobb Smyrna (MCS) Organized Crime Task Force agents and Cobb County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team deputies stormed the residence. Bolton stood up and was shot multiple times within seconds. The lawsuit says Bolton posed no threat to officers and did not attack anyone.
The no-knock warrant listed three targets of a drug investigation, however, none of them were Bolton. Bolton had previously been convicted on drug charges and served jail time from 1999 to 2001, 2003 to 2006 and a six-month stint in 2010, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
The warrant states the MCS unit had surveilled the apartment, located at 5050 Springbrook Trail, unit 505, in Smyrna. Police also interviewed witnesses and used informants to conclude that it was being used to sell drugs. The no-knock provision was granted because giving verbal notice before entering would have “increase(d) the peril to officers” and led to the “destruction of evidence sought.”