Gregory Gunn, we speak your name. May the ancestors receive you.
On February 25, Gregory Gunn, a black 58-year-old grocer, was walking home when 23-year-old white police officer Aaron Smith shot him several times, murdering him. Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley told local newspapers Gregory Gunn had been holding some form of a weapon. It was later identified as a retractable painter’s stick. Witnesses say Gregory Gunn was screaming for help and calling for his mother when he was shot. Aaron Smith allegedly murdered Gunn, last Thursday. Protesters against racial discrimination by police point out that Smith is white and Gunn was black.
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey announced Wednesday that after an investigation that lasted just under one week, it was determined that there was probable cause to arrest officer Aaron “A.C.” Smith, a 23-year-old who has been with the Montgomery Police Department for less than four years. Smith is currently in custody and is being held on $150,000 bond.
“I will do everything in my power to protect a police officer who is operating within the law,” Bailey said Wednesday. “I will also use every ounce of my power to prosecute a police officer who is acting outside of the law.”
The official police account of what led to Gunn’s death is that Smith saw Gunn walking down the street and thought he looked “suspicious.” As Gunn came closer to his home, where he lived with his 87-year-old mother, Smith got out of his patrol car. After that, for reasons that have not yet been explained, a struggle took place, and Smith fired his gun several times.
Witnesses told the Washington Post that they heard Gunn screaming for help and calling for his mother before he was killed on his next-door neighbor’s front lawn.
According to Montgomery police chief Ernest Finley, Gunn was carrying a stick-like object when the confrontation occurred; that object was later determined to be a retractable painter’s stick.