A Georgia police officer won’t be charged in the fatal shooting of a teenager holding a video game controller — even though a previous grand jury found the use of force was not authorized.
A grand jury in Bartow County declined to indict Cpl. Beth Gatny, of Euharlee police, in the February shooting death of 17-year-old Christopher Roupe.
Police said the teen pointed a gun at one of them Feb. 14, when officers knocked on the door of his family’s mobile home to serve a warrant to Roupe’s father on a probation violation.
Gatny said she heard “what she believed to be the action of a firearm” before the door was opened and drew her own weapon, which she fired after the teen opened the door holding what she believed was a pistol.
Family members, however, said the boy was holding a Nintendo Wii game controller.
Gatny could have faced possible charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct in the teen’s death.
But the grand jury this week found insufficient evidence for the case to proceed.
“Because the grand jury has determined that the actions of Officer Gatny did not rise to the level of a criminal offense, this concludes the involvement of the District Attorney’s Office in this matter,” said District Attorney Rosemary Greene.
Roupe was a member of his high school’s junior ROTC program and hoped to join the U.S. Marine Corps after graduation.
A grand jury found in April that Gatny’s use of force was not authorized and recommended further action by prosecutors.
Gatny was fired from her previous job with Acworth, Georgia, police for failing to report to work after her claims for disability compensation were rejected as “not medically supported.”
She was investigated in 2008 after firing her service weapon at a suspect who was trying to remove his backpack because Gatny believed he might be trying to retrieve a gun.
Police investigators determined Gatny shouldn’t be punished in that case because the initial call indicated the suspects could be armed, although her partner said he never believed the suspect was armed.
Gatny was also involved in four car crashes in two years while working in Acworth and was reprimanded during her 10-year career there for refusing to follow orders and for leaving her weapon with a civilian employee while having her picture taken.
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