It’s been nine months since Caroline Small’s family appealed to Gov. Nathan Deal to take action in the young mother’s brutal death at the hands of police in Brunswick and they’ve received a “deafening silence” from the state government.
In a followup letter earlier this month to Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens, the Justice for Caroline Small group says the pair have not responded to their request last November. The group, led by Small’s mother, Karen McGehee, and her church friends in Tallahassee, asked the governor and attorney general last November to reopen the 2010 police shooting case and to review the actions of District Attorney Jackie Johnson.
The Caroline Small group last year asked for a meeting with the two top state officials to discuss the case. The controversial shooting was caught on dash cam video that showed eight police bullets exploding across Small’s windshield.
“We are saddened and frustrated, that you have taken no action,” the group wrote Deal and Olens in the Aug. 8 letter. “Moreover, you have not responded to our requests for a meeting to discuss Caroline’s case.”
The group formed after revelations about the shooting and allegations that prosecutor Johnson’s mishandled of the case were revealed in an AJC/Channel 2 Action News investigation last year. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation supervisor who oversaw the original investigation told reporters it was worst police shooting he’d investigated in his career, but Johnson’s office failed seek an indictment and a grand jury found the officer’s actions justified.
The Small group told the AJC on Thursday that it plans to continue pressing ahead with its efforts to draw attention to the case and get a new investigation.
“Caroline’s story continues to be very powerful and when we tell that story and when we raise public awareness of what happened to her it has power that continues to amaze me,” said Robert Apgar, the group’s leader. “It’s at the government level where we encounter the silence. It’s a deafening silence.”
Deal’s press secretary Alyssa Botts did not respond to a phone message and email request this week from the AJC to discuss the group’s request. In an Aug. 12 email, she said: “What I know is that the letter has been received and it’s been in discussion this week. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!”