ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Four years after Deaundre Phillips, 24, was killed by an Atlanta police officer, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis closed the case. His family and their supporters say the fight is far from over.
Community members joined the family outside Willis’s office to protest the decision. “You’re telling us community members that you’re gonna believe someone who has already lied under oath three separate times,” said Brittany Jones-Chukura, the co-founder of Justice for Georgia. Surveillance video of the January 2017 shooting shows the moment Officer Yasim Abdulahad, who was off-duty, shot Phillips during a confrontation on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. Family members say Phillips complied with the officer’s commands.READ MORE: Hillsborough County School District Principal Arrested After Sending Explicit Texts
“I’m confused. We are hurt,” said Tyvonna Phillips, his mother. “The reason why these officers keep doing it is because they keep slapping them on the hand. They need to be held accountable,” she said. “We just want justice for my nephew. I want my sister to be able to have some peace,” said his uncle, Darius Hall. Advocates say Willis overlooked Abdulahad’s history of violence toward citizens and another open case involving the officer. “She chooses not to operate in integrity and with integrity when it comes to prosecuting these cases,” said Keyanna Jones, the assistance director of Justice for Georgia.READ MORE: The 16th Annual Paws In Motion Walk-A-Thon Coming Back To Manatee County
Family members of other alleged police brutality victims, like Jimmy Atchison, were there for support. “It’s time for change. Change is not going to happen if we continue to just talk about it,” said Atchison’s father, Jimmy Hill.
A spokesperson for Willis’s office issued this statement:
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Like all cases involving police use of force, this case was fully investigated, including extensive use of experts that analyzed all evidence. The District Attorney made a decision based only on the evidence and applicable law that it cannot be proven that the officer in this case violated the law.
Atlanta NAACP First Vice President Gerald Griggs says the video shows otherwise. “What we are calling on is for DA Willis to rethink her decision and to put this in front of a grand jury,” he said. Griggs says the family could also consider taking the case to the state or U.S. Attorney General or Department of Justice.