Atlanta, GA -- In December 2018, Devin Nolley made the poor decision to operate a stolen vehicle and then run from police when they tried to stop him for it. For his actions, Nolley should have been arrested and put in jail and served his debt to society.
None of that happened, however, because two Georgia cops took it upon themselves to play the role of judge, jury, and executioner. Instead of serving time for his crimes, Nolley is now a paraplegic -- paralyzed from the waste down -- and the taxpayers of Atlanta will likely shell out millions of dollars to pay for his round-the-clock care.
The silver lining to this case is the fact that the officers who attempted to execute a fleeing unarmed man, East Point officers Rodney Etienne and Shiron Nicole Varner, have been indicted this month for their actions that fateful day.
According to police, they attempted to stop Nolley after spotting him in a stolen black Nissan at a shopping center. Instead of stopping, however, Nolley fled the shopping center as cops opened fire in a densely populated area in a futile attempt to stop him.
The two officers would claim that Nolley attempted to run them over with his car. However, video released after their indictment this month proves this was not true.
“My client simply backed up and drove around them, and that’s when they started shooting at him at the Camp Creek Marketplace," one of Nolley's attorneys, Jackie Patterson said in 2019.
Video backs up this claim.
What's more, the officers would then cause Nolley to crash his car on I-285 before attempting to execute him as he ran away from them.
“He jumped out of the vehicle, jumped over the rail to head towards the woods and that’s when they shot him in the back and he was completely unarmed," Patterson said. "He was shot twice in the back and twice in the legs."
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According to the dash and body camera video -- which was kept secret for over three years -- before Nolley's vehicle even stops moving, he is seen jumping out of the driver's side door before attempting to flee into the woods.
Instead of running after him, deploying a taser, or attempting anything other than deadly force, Etienne and Varner opened fire on the unarmed man, spraying 30 rounds at him as he ran away, presenting no threat.
According to the lawsuit Nolley was unarmed when he exited the vehicle and ran away and “posed no danger” to the officers, “who had no reason to believe Mr. Nolley posed a safety threat to anyone as he fled on foot.” When the officers fired at him, he was hit twice in the legs and twice in the back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, the lawsuit says. There was no legal justification for the use of force, according to the lawsuit, which called the shooting “unreasonable and excessive.”
This month, a court agreed and charged both officers with multiple crimes related to the incident.
The Associated Press reports that the aggravated assault and aggravated battery charges, as well as one violation of oath count, are related to Nolley’s shooting and that the reckless conduct charge and the other violation of oath count stem from the officers firing their guns at the shopping center, where they endangered the safety of a woman.
The GBI said at the time of the shooting that one of the rounds fired at the shopping center hit a drug store in a separate lot and a woman was cut by falling glass. Luckily, no other innocent people were hurt or killed as a result of their actions.
Nolley's lawsuit seeks a jury trial and asks for $30 million in damages, as well as legal costs and fees.
Below are the videos.