Bobby Daniels’ family—some of them eyewitnesses to his death—held a news conference in suburban Atlanta Wednesday to tell their version of what led to his fatal shooting by a Douglas County, Ga., deputy, the Washington Post reports.
Chris Stewart, the civil rights attorney representing the slain man’s family, said the relatives want law-enforcement officials to “acknowledge the truth.”
“Mistakes happen,” he said. “They shot Bobby, and he shouldn’t have been shot. Acknowledge that. But don’t tell this family who is grieving that this man picked up a gun and pointed it at the officers. It’s just disrespectful.”
According to the official account, the deputies responded to a call Dec. 21 about an armed suspect holding a security guard hostage at a mobile home park.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the officers witnessed Daniels, 48, and his 25-year-old son, Bias Daniels, struggling over a gun. The officers fired a Taser at Bias, but it failed to disable him.
“As the fight continued between Bias and Bobby, the handgun was pointed at the deputies, at which point one of the deputies fired, striking and killing Bobby,” the GBI statement said.
According to the family’s version, Bobby Daniels, a security guard at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, arrived at the scene after receiving phone calls that Bias was having a psychological episode and holding someone hostage at gunpoint.
The attorney said that the Navy veteran persuaded his son to place his weapon on the hood of a car. At that point, the deputies fired a stun gun at Bias, but his coat made it ineffective. Bias then stepped toward the gun, and Daniels tried to prevent him from picking up the weapon.
Garrett Daniels, a nephew of the slain man who witnessed the incident, told WSB-TV that Daniels tried to slap the gun off the car, but the officers probably thought he was trying to shoot them. “He was trying to protect him. That’s all he was trying to do,” Garrett said.
Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller said, “I think that he could have been trying to help the situation instead of hurting it, but when he pointed the gun at the officers, he was shot.”
The sheriff said he’s confident that his officer “thought his life was in danger, and he did what he thought he had to do.”
Daniels’ wife, Cynthia Daniels, rejected that account: “My husband would never, ever take a gun and point it at an officer. He would never do that.”