COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- The family of Vincent Truitt, 17, has filed a $150 million lawsuit against Cobb County and the officer involved in his death. They say the county and district attorney have failed to hold the officer accountable for what they call an unjustified shooting.
"I'll never be the same. My pain starts from the moment I open my eyes," said Venethia Cook, Truitt's mother. "I'll never hear his voice again. I'll never see his face again."
Cook and her family are demanding justice for her teen son from the county and Police Officer Max Karneol. Karneol shot and killed Truitt following a car chase on Riverside Parkway in July 2020. Their attorneys say it's the largest lawsuit of its kind in Georgia history.
"We believe that a figure that high will send a message to never ever do this again, to reform your system, and to hold your officers accountable," said Gerald Griggs, one of the family's attorneys.
Bodycam footage shows police forcing the alleged stolen car to stop and both the driver and Truitt running from officers. The officer can be seen shooting Truitt twice.
"In what world do you just shoot a kid in the back and get away with it," Cook said.
"My son had enough gall, while he was shot on the ground, to ask the officer, "Why did you shoot me," said Andre Truitt, his father.
Police say Truitt was holding a gun, but his family and their attorneys disagree.
"This was clearly an unjustifiable shooting, and Mr. Truitt posed no threat to anyone," said Jackie Patterson, another attorney.
"This family has been treated in such a condescending manner by a vacuous individual named Flynn Broady," said Truitt's grandmother, Deborah E. Howard, who was referring to Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady.
"The district attorney did not have the temerity, the gumption and the courage to present this to a real grand jury and not a civil grand jury," said Griggs. They're calling on Broady to present the case to a criminal grand jury. "We are seeking that this case be judged merely on the facts," said Attorney Maria Banjo.
Cobb County Police declined to comment. Broady's office issued this statement Thursday evening:
In order to provide transparency in all officer use of force incidents, our office policy is to present these cases to the grand jury pursuant to OCGA 15-12-71. The death of Mr. Truitt was presented before the grand jury on February 19, 2021. The grand jury returned a presentment finding the incident was lawful and a recommendation of no further action. Our office respects the grand jury process and the recommendation of the grand jury in this matter. The case file has been available to the family, the media and the general public pursuant to the Georgia's Open Records Act, OCGA 50-18-70 since the day after the grand jury's recommendation. The transcript of the grand jury proceedings has been available since it was completed and filed by the court reporter. As such, we have no further comment.
A Cobb County spokesperson said the county plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit in court.
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