x
Breaking News
More () »

Former East Point Police officers on trial for detainee's tasing death

ATLANTA -- Wednesday marked day three of a trial against two former East Point police officers, charged with murder in the 2014 death of Gregory Towns.

ATLANTA -- Wednesday marked day three of a trial against two former East Point police officers, charged with murder in the 2014 death of Gregory Towns.

Former police Sgt. Marcus Eberhart and Cpl. Howard Weems are each facing multiple charges, including murder, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and violation of police oath.

Towns, who was handcuffed, died after being tased multiple times by the officers.

PHOTOS | Gregory Towns

Both officers responded to a domestic violence call on April 11, 2014. Upon arrival, Towns began to run from officers. After being caught and handcuffed, Towns claimed he was too tired to walk to the officers' patrol car, as instructed. Eberhart and Weems then used their tasers on Towns, in an effort to get him to comply. Officials say Towns became unresponsive and died a short time later.

Wednesday, Fulton County jurors heard from another officer who was on the scene during that incident.

Former East Point police officer Irvin Johnson has since left the department, but he was among those who responded to the 2014 domestic violence call. It was Johnson who actually chased Towns and handcuffed him. Johnson testified both he and Towns were exhausted and out of breath after the chase.

"His pants were down, he was sweating heavily, he was breathing hard," Johnson said. "He just seemed exhausted."

Using a mannequin, Johnson demonstrated to the court how he, along with the two officers on trial, tried to get Towns up and walking.

"Mr. Towns advised he couldn't get up because he was exhausted, he was tired," Johnson said.

Prosecutor Clinton Rucker asked, based on what they had been through and physical observations, if that claim seemed valid.

"Yeah," Johnson replied.

Rucker worked to make a case for excessive force, after Johnson testified Towns never struggled with or fought officers. But defense attorney Sandra Michaels called the tasing a compliance method, saying that was the only thing that got Towns moving after having previously ignored police commands.

"Until that moment, he had disobeyed all verbal commands. I think you would agree with me?" Michaels asked Johnson during cross-examination.

"Yes, ma'am," Johnson replied.

This afternoon, Towns' family spoke to reporters outside of the Fulton County Courthouse after hearing Johnson's testimony.

"They should have initiated EMS and had him sent to the hospital at that time," said Towns' aunt Pamela Fullwood. "If somebody tells you they're tired and they can't walk - you stand them up and they fall back down - that's a clear indication to me that something else is wrong."

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out