Retired GBI Agent speaks on possible evidence in body cam footage of protester killed

The family of the protestor killed in a shooting at the proposed police and fire training center said they have now seen the most recent body camera video released by the Atlanta Police Department.

APD released the footage Wednesday. You can hear a barrage of gunfire.

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Now, the GBI must determine if that gunfire sound was the shooting that left a trooper hurt or protester Manuel Teran dead.

GBI said evidence shows Georgia State Patrol troopers approached Teran during a multi-agency operation to get protestors to leave the land. GBI said Teran fired a gun, and troopers fired back.

They released a photo of the that Teran used and investigators said the bullet recovered from the trooper’s body matched that firearm.

An attorney for the Teran family, Brian Spears, said in a press conference Monday that an independent autopsy revealed at least 12 bullets hit Teran.

“When one officer fires, generally, all the other officers start to fire,” said Chris Robinson, retied GBI firearm expert and Atlanta crime lab director. “I understand it seems like a lot, but that needs to be broken down by the GBI into how many bullets from each gun were fired.”

Now, Robinson is a consultant who reconstructs shooting scenes.

“Absolutely. The GBI has the answers, and they can tell you how many shots each officer fired,” said Robinson. “They can look at the bullets or the cartridge cases.”

Even though the only body camera video investigators say exists only captures sound, Robinson said in some cases, experts can use that to confirm who fired first.

“You can hear which shot was first, and you can hear the sequential shots being louder,” said Robinson.

He said the problem that investigators can run into with that is how similar some guns sound on the scene. Gun investigators said the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 shield gun that Teran purchased and used to shoot the trooper, would sound too similar to the 9mm firearms troopers usually carry.


The GBI responded with the following message after APD released the body camera video contrary to GBI procedures:

The GBI is committed to a full, complete, and accurate investigation. Yesterday, the Atlanta Police Department released bodycam video of their officers who were involved in the joint operation to clear the site of the future City of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. In those videos, at least one statement exists where an officer speculates that the Trooper was shot by another officer in crossfire. Speculation is not evidence. Our investigation does not support that statement.

We ask for your patience as we continue our investigation. In addition to the collection of evidence, forensic evaluation and analysis, the investigative process includes among other things the interview of not only the officers at the immediate scene, but also all personnel who were present during the operation.

When the investigation is complete, all videos will be provided. One of the rationales behind not publicly releasing videos during active investigations is that witness interviews are a key way to obtain information regarding facts surrounding an incident. Memory and perception are fragile, and a myriad of factors can influence perception and memory, including an individual’s background, experiences, the turmoil, and emotional impact of a significant incident, as well as the viewing of a video before giving a statement. That is the rationale behind Georgia’s law which allows agencies to exempt the public disclosure of videos in an active investigation. (OCGA § 50-18-72(a)(4)).

The GBI is continuing to investigate the incident from January 18th and is being as comprehensive in the investigation as possible. The initial assessment given by the GBI concerning the incident is still valid. Our investigation will continue to look at every aspect, to include statements made at the scene, and each will be evaluated.

GBI Statement in response to APD body cam video release

Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco is waiting for the GBI to confirm what firearms troopers carried into the woods.

Family is still waiting for a meeting with the GBI and demanding the release of any dash cam and drone video.

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