Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Against Former Georgia Officer in Fatal Traffic Stop Shooting

A former Georgia police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, in a disturbing case that has sparked debates over police behavior and racial tensions. The charge is based on an alleged shooting death of Black man Emmanuel Millard by ex-Woodstock police officer Grant Matthew Shaw following a traffic stop. Millard was purportedly surrendering.

October 12, 2023 saw the start of the event, when Millard allegedly tried to avoid a Woodstock Police traffic stop for many infractions. This prompted a fast pursuit into Cobb County. Police say Millard drove erratically throughout the chase, going off the road multiple times, almost hitting civilian automobiles, and trying to ram police cruisers. When police used a precision immobilization technique (PIT) move, Millard’s car crashed close to Highway 92 and Old Mountain Park Road, capping the pursuit.

Shaw apparently fired the lethal shot during the ensuing effort to arrest him. Once at the hospital, Millard passed away from his wounds. The shooting has been fraught with controversy, especially since Andrew Lampros, the victim’s family’s attorney, saw previously undisclosed body camera footage. Lampros claims that the video unequivocally captures Millard trying to give himself up. “He showed him his hands, he was fully compliant and told him to get out of the car, and as he went to get out of the car, he shot and killed him,” Lampros said, underscoring that the circumstances did not call for a fatal result.

The incident has generated serious questions regarding police use of force and how traffic encounters are handled procedurally, particularly when they include minorities. Pointing to a larger problem of safety and equity in police contacts, Lampros said, “Traffic stops are not supposed to end in the death of the person who was stopped, especially when they present no danger to themselves or anyone else.”

Following his indictment last month, Shaw turned himself in to the police on April 22. Later, he was given a $50,000 bond subject to particular terms, such as not being allowed to speak with Millard’s family and not being allowed to own any firearms.

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As it proceeds through the court system, this case is evolving and provides yet another critical look at police procedures and the pressing need for change in the way traffic stops and pursuits are handled, especially in diverse areas.

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