Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey charged Montgomery, Ala., Police Officer Aaron Smith with murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man outside his mother’s house.
“I will do everything in my power to protect a police officer who is operating within the law,” Bailey said Wednesday, CBS News reports. “I will also use every ounce of my power to prosecute a police officer who is acting outside of the law.”
Bailey added that Smith, 23, was in custody, with bond set at $150,000.
On Feb. 25 around 3:20 a.m., 58-year-old Greg Gunn was walking to his mother’s house, where he lived, after playing cards at a neighbor’s home. Officer Smith stopped Gunn, reportedly for looking “suspicious.” Within minutes, Smith had shot Gunn dead.
“I want to be crystal clear that the arrest that is being made today is in no way an indictment on the Montgomery Police Department,” Bailey said. “In fact, 99.9 percent of the Montgomery police officers do an exceptional job on a daily basis protecting us and our community. They are, in fact, the thin blue line between order and chaos.”
Civil rights activist Jamel Brown told WAKA that black men can’t be afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods without feeling threatened by police.
“You were telling 17-, 18- and 15-year-old black boys that they can’t walk in their neighborhood at 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning without having to be charged with a ‘looks suspicious,’” he said. “No, we’ve got to change that type of dominion—we want to bridge the gap between the police agency and the black community in Montgomery.”
Read more at CBS News.