Jury Rules No Charges Against Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Teenager

| by Jared Keever

A grand jury in Bartow County, Georgia, declined to indict a police officer Wednesday in the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy earlier this year. 

The grand jury said they did not have enough evidence to indict Euharlee police Cpl. Beth Gatny for shooting Christopher Roupe in February. 

Gatny and another officer reportedly knocked on the door of Roupe’s home to serve a probation warrant for his father. According to WXIA, Gatny told investigators, “before the door could be opened … [she] heard what she believed to be the action of a firearm.”

“A male subject opened the front door pointing a pistol … and pulled the trigger,” Gatny told investigators. 

Roupe’s family claims the boy was holding a controller to a Nintendo Wii gaming system. 

The Cherokee County Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office subsequently proposed an indictment charging Gatny with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

“Because the Grand Jury has determined that the actions of Officer Gatny did not rise to the level of a criminal offense, this concludes the involvement of the District Attorney’s Office in this matter,” District Attorney Rosemary Greene said in a statement, according to WSB-TV.

A previous grand jury had ruled that deadly force was not authorized in the incident that killed Roupe. His family’s attorney, Cole Law, said he does not understand why the case needed to go to a second grand jury. 

“The first grand jury said, ‘Let's pursue charges against this officer.’ We're at a loss as to why it went to another grand jury,” Law said. “It's very simple: you do not kill a child that comes to the door with a toy in his hand.”

Euharlee Mayor Dennis Thayer issued a statement following the grand jury’s decision thanking citizens for allowing “the proper legal agencies and our justice system the time to sort out what has been no doubt a very complex situation.”

“While the events of February 14th will not soon be forgotten, the Grand Jury's decision brings us to a point where the healing process can start and we can look towards the future and the return to some level of normalcy,” the statement read.

Gatny remains on administrative leave with the department. Euharlee Police Chief Terry Harget said it is unclear whether she will continue on with the police force.

Roupe’s family has promised to file a civil lawsuit against Gatny and the city.

Roupe was a student at Woodland High School and a member of the school's JROTC program, according to the Cartersville Patch.

Sources: WXIA, WSB-TV, Patch

Photo Source: Facebook: Christopher Roupe