Georgia deputies shot a man after he refused to put away a tablet computer inside a courtroom during a child support hearing Wednesday.
Clayton County sheriff’s deputies say they only shot Benarvis Johnson after tasering him, which had no effect on him.
They also say he ignored their orders to put away the tablet computer, which is why they had to drag him out of the courtroom and taser him.
A witness recorded deputies with tasers in their hands struggling with the 27-year-old man outside the courtroom, but did not capture the actual shooting or any of the tasering.
But they say there was no need to shoot Johnson, especially considering there were a number of bystanders, including children, that could have been struck.
The video shows Johnson being led out of the courtroom with the tablet in his hand, so perhaps he was also recording, even though that video has not surfaced.
Johnson can be seen with his hands in the air, telling deputies not to touch him as he appears to be willing to walk on his own, but deputies insisted on manhandling him.
Johnson, who was charged with creating a public disturbance, was recovering at a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the buttocks.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
When deputies told the man he could not use his tablet while in court, he ignored them.
“The gentleman wouldn’t put the tablet down; he kept using it,” King said.
Two deputies came over and one reached for his Taser.
The man continued arguing with the deputies, who dragged him out of the courtroom and into the hallway.
“He was holding his hands up, saying, ‘Don’t touch me,’” King said.
Deputies tried to place him in custody and he resisted, officials told Channel 2.
One deputy deployed his Taser on the man, Jonesboro police Chief Franklin Allen said.
When the stun gun didn’t work, another deputy shot the man in the buttocks, Allen said.
Now the Georgia Bureau of Investigation the shooting to see if the deputy was justified, but don’t be surprised if they will accuse Johnson of “reaching for the deputy’s gun,” which is a common excuse used to justify these shootings.
“It is unclear if the individual was reaching for the officer’s gun or if the officer reacted instinctively and drew his weapon, firing one shot striking the individual,” Jonesboro Police Chief Franklin Allen told CBS 46.
But a witness named Michael McQueen said the shooting was not justified.
“The guy was saying just, don’t put your hands on me,’” McQueen said. “The officer called for backup. Both of them had their tasers drawn and escorted him out in the hallway. You hear a tussle and then a gun shot.
“I didn’t see a reason to shoot that man,” McQueen said.
Prior to being dragged out of the courtroom and shot, a judge was about to order Johnson to pay $233-a-month for this three-year-old son in California.