Alabama cop accused of murdering man told investigators he fired when man swung pole at him
Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2019
A white Alabama police officer charged with murder in the shooting of a black man initially told an investigator he fired after the man swung a pole at him, jurors heard Wednesday.
Prosecutors played jurors a recording of a statement made by Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith hours after the killing of Greg Gunn, 58.
Smith stopped Gunn, who was walking through his neighborhood in the pre-dawn hours, and attempted to frisk him moments before the shooting occurred, authorities have said.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports Smith initially told an investigator Gunn swung a painting pole at him after a short pursuit.
The investigator asked Smith if he was “in fear for your life” when Gunn swung the pole, which missed Smith.
“I was afraid I was going to get hit in the head,” Smith said. Gunn was shot five times outside a neighbor’s home.
Prosecutors contend Smith’s story changed over time, leading to a murder charge. Deputy District Attorney Ben McGough told jurors in an opening statement that Smith was “nothing more than a bully with a badge.”
Defense attorney Mickey McDermott portrayed Gunn as being on cocaine and presenting a threat to Smith.
“This young man had to make a decision in microseconds,” McDermott told jurors earlier.
The shooting happened in February 2016. The trial is being held in the south Alabama town of Ozark after a judge moved it out of Montgomery.