Cobb County, GA — On the night he died, Johnny Bolton, father of two, had committed no crime and was not wanted by police. However, because the state’s brutal war on drugs callously ruins the lives of all those who cross its path, Bolton became collateral damage — executed by the drug war’s enforces — as he slept on a sofa.
The Smyrna County district attorney has since recommended that the sheriff’s deputy, Samuel Daniel, who killed Bolton that morning, be charged. A grand jury determined last month, after reviewing testimony from a GBI agent, testimony from the medical examiner, camera footage, witness statements and photographs, that Daniel’s use of force was not at all justified.
“It is the District Attorney’s Office’s standard procedure to send all officer involved shooting incidents to a grand jury. If the grand jury recommends further action, there will be further investigation to determine what charges, if any, should be sent to a future grand jury. As it pertains to the officer involved shooting of Johnny Bolton, the District Attorney’s Office presented it to a grand jury which recommended further action on September 9, 2021. The incident is still an open and active investigation. For clarification, the District Attorney’s Office has not made a determination of what charges, if any, will be presented to a grand jury at this time,” the DA’s office said in a statement Thursday.
On top of the recommended charges, Bolton’s children, Diamond Bolton and Kyrie Turner, have filed a federal lawsuit against Daniel, seeking damages. Attorney Zack Greenamyre is representing the family and held no punches when describing the deputy’s actions that morning.
“Defendant Daniel acted with conscious indifference, reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions, an intent to injure, and malice such that an award of punitive damages is authorized under federal and Georgia law,” the lawsuit says.
On the morning of the raid, Bolton was asleep on the sofa of a friend’s apartment when police were executing a no-knock raid seeking the arrest three individuals who lived in the “boarding” style apartment. Bolton was not a person of interest for police.
The father of two was innocent, unarmed and asleep when cops kicked in the door during the early morning hours of Dec. 17, 2020. As multiple armed storm troopers raided the apartment to arrest people over arbitrary substances deemed illegal by the state, Bolton woke up on the sofa and before he knew what was going on, deputy Daniel put two bullets in his chest.
“Why did the officers shoot and kill my brother? Where is the accountability? This happened Dec. 17 of 2020 where is the accountability,” the victim’s sister Daphne Bolton said.
Greenamyre collected evidence from witnesses who say Bolton was unarmed and sleeping when Marietta Cobb Smyrna (MCS) Organized Crime Task Force agents and Cobb County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team deputies stormed the apartment.
Not knowing what was happening, Bolton stood up only to be shot multiple times. He was never given a chance to comply. His death was treated as little more than an “accident” in the state’s immoral quest to control what we can and can’t do with our own bodies.
As TFTP has consistently reported, the idea of ceasing the use of no-knock raids is revolutionary when it comes to policing in the United States and its importance cannot be overstated.
Across the country—largely due to the failed drug war—police conduct tens of thousands of no-knock raids a year.
Breonna Taylor was murdered during one of them. Countless others are beaten, terrorized, and killed as well, and just like Breonna, cops often act on bad information.
“In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations … In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances,” Vox wrote in an revealing investigation in 2015.
Case in point, Johnny Bolton.