DECATUR, Ga. — With defiance in their eyes and resolve in their souls, the mother and father of slain Nicholas Thomas, the unarmed black man who was shot and killed in the Atlanta area, called for an independent investigation into the shooting of yet another African American male.
Moreover, the parents and their attorneys vehemently dispute the police officers’ account of what happened, most particularly that he was driving a car towards the officers. And they vow to ensure their son did not die in vain.
The family held a news conference at the law offices of Davis & Bozeman on the other side of metro Atlanta from where Thomas was killed while at work in Smyrna, Ga. They request the Georgia Bureau of Investigation take a closer look at the circumstances that led up to the use of lethal force they said was very unnecessary.
Thomas died Tuesday after an officer fired a shot at the Maserati police say he was driving toward them in the parking lot of the Goodyear store on Cumberland Parkway where he worked. Police say they were attempting to serve arrest warrants.
Thomas’ family members blasts police account of what happened. And so do witnesses who were on the scene.
At least one witness, a customer at the Goodyear, has disputed their version of events.
“They were standing behind the car, opening fire,” Brittany Eustache said. “[Thomas] wasn’t driving towards them. The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him. The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn’t go any further.”
“He was a wonderful family man. He was a great father, we have a beautiful daughter together and he won’t even be able to watch her grow and I can’t say anything else (crying),” said the mother of Thomas’ child, Cajun Snorton.
The two attorneys, Mawuli Davis and Robert Bozeman dispute many of the facts that have been proliferated among the media and has been repeated — mainly that Thomas drove his car at the officers in an attempt to either run them over or to flee the scene.
“We’re concerned deadly force was the only alternative considered in this case. We believe there should have been other methods used to take Mr. Thomas into custody,” said attorney Robert Bozeman.
The attorneys say surveillance video from the Goodyear store will clarify the circumstances leading up to the use of deadly force, most of all if Thomas was actually speeding toward officers, a fact they and witnesses dispute.
Smyrna and Cobb County police are investigating while the officer involved is on administrative leave.
Meanwhile, the family’s attorneys announced they will hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday at Smyrna City Hall.
Photos: Terry Shropshire