RIP Greg Gunn: White Ex-Alabama Cop Who Killed Unarmed Black Man Granted Early Release From Prison

From left: Former Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith and police shooting victim Greg Gunn. | Source: Montgomery County Jail and fair use photo

The state has released Aaron Cody Smith, a former Alabama police officer convicted of manslaughter for the 2016 shooting death of Greg Gunn, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. Smith, who worked for the Montgomery Police Department, is white. Gunn is Black.

Gunn’s family and friends are frustrated by the news.

Smith’s early prison release was granted by A.G. Steve Marshall.

On Feb. 21, Attorney General Steve Marshall negotiated a deal with Smith, who changed his plea to guilty. Smith is now set to be released from prison having served his time, as stated by Marshall, who took over the case earlier this month.

“Despite my personal misgivings about the strength of the case against Mr. Smith, my office successfully defended the conviction in accordance with our statutory duty,” Marshall said in a statement, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “I firmly believe that Mr. Smith was due a new trial, but after eight years of watching this protracted litigation, I exerted my authority to bring this case to a close. Mr. Smith has pleaded guilty to the offense for which he was convicted, in exchange for returning to his family. I believe that this is a fair and appropriate outcome.”

William Boyd, a close friend of the Gunn family, said he was upset by Smith’s early release.

“The state, they undid justice today,” Boyd said. “It’s another sad day that Black lives don’t matter.”

Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey, who was representing Gunn’s relatives throughout their court battle, told that he was “very disappointed” by Marshall’s decision. He called the move “a privilege not afforded to most convicted killers.”


What happened to Greg Gunn?

On November 25, 2016, Greg Gunn, an unarmed 58-year-old Black man, was fatally shot seven times on his neighbor’s front porch. While Gunn was returning home from a card game at a friend’s house, Aaron Cody Smith, then 23, stopped and frisked him while patrolling the neighborhood.

Smith admitted to striking Gunn with his baton, using a Taser on him multiple times and ultimately shooting him on the porch. He justified the shooting by claiming Gunn picked up a paint roller from the neighbor’s porch. However, there was no video evidence as Smith failed to activate his body and vehicle dashboard police cameras as required.

Gunn succumbed to his injuries at the scene, near his home where he lived with his elderly mother. The shooting resulted in severe injuries, including ruptured organs and a fractured hip and arm, among others.

Smith was ultimately charged by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and a jury from Dale County convicted him of manslaughter in 2019, resulting in a 14-year prison sentence. He filed an appeal, a Rule 32 petition challenging his conviction. The legal process allows convicted individuals to challenge their convictions or sentences after their direct appeals have been exhausted.

Smith’s appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court was denied in 2022. However, on Wednesday, Marshall finally granted the petition.

This is America.


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The post RIP Greg Gunn: White Ex-Alabama Cop Who Killed Unarmed Black Man Granted Early Release From Prison appeared first on NewsOne.

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