Family demands answers after police change story about fatal shooting

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Jameillah Smiley watched the body camera video of police shooting her son, 20-year-old Ricky Boyd, right outside the family’s front door back in January. “It was so horrible … so horrible to watch my son get gunned down,” Smiley said.

Police wanted to question Boyd about a recent homicide. Minutes later, he was dead.

Interim police chief Mark Revenew initially said “the suspect, he initiated gun fire toward the officers. The officers returned gun fire.” But the police explanation kept changing.

Hours later, they said Boyd had a gun, but never said he fired it. State investigators later said it was only a BB gun.

We asked Smiley whether she had seen him holding a gun in the video.

“No sir. Never had a gun, never presented a gun,” she said.

A photo showed a BB pistol lying in a neighbor’s yard.

“The photo we obtained showed the gun on the ground right about here,” said William Claiborne, a lawyer who represents Boyd’s family, “about 43 feet” away. “There is no explanation” for why the gun was so far away, Claiborne said.

We went to Savannah police for answers to their shifting account. They declined to talk about any aspect of the case.  

“I don’t have the body cam. I don’t have officers’ names. I don’t know if anyone will be charged in this,” Smiley she said. “This is a cover up.”

Smiley demanded answers before the Savannah City Council last week. “Do you support releasing the body cam, right now?” she asked.

“The city can’t — isn’t going to release the video right now,” a city official said.

“They didn’t have to kill my son. They didn’t have to kill him. I’m so sorry — he never made a threat to anybody and they came here and assassinated him in front of his family,” Smiley said.

The Chatham County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the case. They said a decision whether to press charges should be finished by the end of next month.

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