AP NEWS

Prosecutor clears Georgia officers in separate shootings

March 1, 2020 GMT

DALTON, Ga. (AP) — A district attorney in northwest Georgia has cleared a deputy and an officer of wrongdoing in separate shootings, including one that left a man dead.

The Daily Citizen-News of Dalton reports that District Attorney Bert Poston has found both shootings “legally justified.” Poston has told the Dalton Police Department and Whitfield County sheriff that he won’t seek charges.

Whitfield Sheriff’s Capt. Clay Pangle shot and killed Matthew James Fleming of Atlanta on Oct. 25. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said earlier that Fleming was found in the middle of a road yelling at cars and people. When officers arrived, Fleming wouldn’t obey commands and investigators say Pangle shot him after Fleming “attempted to draw a weapon.”

About three months earlier and less than a mile away, Dalton Police Officer Eduardo Guerrero was called after people said David Schmitt of Cohutta was trying to stand in front of or get into vehicles. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Guerrero tried to subdue Schmitt with a stun gun on July 22, but that Schmitt attacked Guerrero and tried to use the stun gun on the officer. Guerrero then shot Schmitt several times.

Schmitt survived, was released from the hospital, and is now in the Whitfield County jail. Jail records show he’s charged with aggravated assault, obstruction of an officer resulting in injury and misdemeanor failure to appear. Schmitt is scheduled for an April 27 trial.