Hundreds of Savannah, Georgia residents marched Thursday night to a Savannah police station demanding justice and answers in the death of 29-year-old Charles Smith, who was shot and killed Thursday morning by a Savannah police officer.
Smith was arrested by Savannah police on outstanding warrants and placed in a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind his back. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), Smith, who was about 6 feet 7 inches tall, was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out a window of the patrol car. The AP reports that officers said Smith had a gun when he tried to exit the patrol car and was shot by an officer, although witness accounts contradict that story. The incident was reportedly captured on video.
The killing is under investigation and findings will be turned over to the Eastern Judicial Circuit district attorney’s office. The GBI will conduct the investigation.
Smith was the father of a toddler and had another child on the way. He had served time in prison for stealing a car but his mother, Penny Nelson, said her son wasn’t a drug dealer and was not a violent person. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed on Smith today (September 19).