A white Georgia cop will have a long, long time to revisit why the hell she lied about a black man shooting her two years ago.
A judge sentenced former Jackson, Ga., police officer Sherry Hall to 15 years in prison, with another 23 years of probation, for claiming that she was shot by a “6-foot, 230-pound African-American man” in September 2016, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. She claimed she was trying to apprehend a suspect when he shot her and escaped on foot.
While a bullet was found “lodged in her protective vest,” according to the AJC, Hall’s hole-filled-story ended up being a complete and utter lie. Initially, Halls’ claim that she was shot led to a countywide manhunt, and a man who resembled Hall’s description of her assailant was brought in for questioning. But an investigation quickly revealed that Hall’s was lying out her ass.
From the AJC:
She didn’t realize that her squad car’s video system was operating even though she’d failed to turn on the blue lights, Assistant District Attorney James Moss said. In the audio from that recording, you can hear only two shots being fired, not three [as she had stated], he said.
Three shell casings were found at the scene: two near the patrol car and one in the woods where Hall said her shooter had been.
As expected, the two casings near the car matched the gun Hall was carrying that night. But the one found in the woods matched a department-issued backup firearm that Hall kept in her nightstand, Moss said. And that gun’s firing pin, which would help further identify a bullet shot from the gun, had been tampered with.
No one has been able to say exactly what happened and how the bullet became lodged in her vest.
We may never know exactly what happened to Hall that night, but Hall’s fabricated story came during a particularly tense time in police departments across America. The summer of 2016 was a deadly one for black people, with news of officer-involved shootings of unarmed black men dominating the headlines. As protests broke out across the country, police feared retaliation, especially after a gunman killed five officers during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. The gunman, Micah Xavier, had no affiliation with the group.
Shortly after her “shooting,” Hall milked the story, appearing on a local CBS affiliate to talk about her harrowing ordeal and stoked fear in the Jackson community.
“For him to have such a disregard to human life really angers me and upsets me,” she said. “If he’ll do this to an officer, how much more will he do to a citizen on the street?”
At the time, police were still combing the county for a possible suspect.
Some speculate that Hall made up the story to “improve her stature in the department or to set herself up to get disability payments for post-traumatic stress disorder,” the AJC writes.
Hall was convicted on 11 criminal charges, the AJC writes, including making false statements, violating her oath and tampering with evidence, writes the AJC.
Her brother, Steve Weaver, hopes to get the sentence reduced because it’s a “nonviolent crime,” he told the AJC.
Ironically, had Hall taken a plea deal she might have received a substantially lower prison sentence—five years behind bars, with an additional five on probation.
Continuing her streak of poor decision-making, Hall turned it down.
“She’s scared to death of prison,” Weaver said. “She wanted to take a plea, but not one that included prison time. She thought spending 90 days in jail before posting bond was enough.”