A Georgia police officer is accused of fabricating an elaborate story about being shot on duty by a black male police now think doesn’t exist.
An arrest warrant was issued for Sherry Hall, a Jackson police officer, according to WSB-TV. Among other offenses, she is accused of planting evidence to stage the on-duty shooting scene.
Hall was taken to the hospital after she reported the shooting. “When she called out for help on her police radio, she said the bullet struck her vest, which she credited with saving her life,” said AJC.com.
WGXA says the bullet didn’t penetrate Hall’s vest, and quoted a Georgia Bureau of Investigation official as saying “preliminary evidence now shows that it ‘looks like’ she shot herself.” However, at a news conference, officials declined to say whether Hall shot herself, although they stressed no gunman was at large.
The incident is unfolding against the backdrop of confrontations between police and community members. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, another police officer, Betty Shelby, has been charged with manslaughter in the death of Terence Crutcher. In Charlotte, North Carolina, the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by Officer Brentley Vinson has sparked nights of rioting, including the death of a protester and injuries to more than 20 officers.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hall Allegedly Blamed a Black Male Suspect but Police Now Think He Doesn’t Exist, Reports Say
Previous news accounts describe the detailed story that Hall allegedly gave several times about being shot shortly after midnight on September 13, an account that shook the small Georgia town of about 5,000 people. She even gave local TV station CBS46 a sit-down interview about the shooting (watch it above).
News reports said that Hall blamed a black man for the shooting. According to AJC.com, “she described a 6-foot, 230-pound black man who took off after shooting her. He wore a green shirt and black jogging pants.”
According to a story in The Jackson Progress-Argus when the shooting occurred, “Chief James Morgan says Officer Sherry Hall was struck during an exchange of gunfire with a black male on Camellia Court.”
Hall is white, the Associated Press says.
At the time of the shooting, WGXA reported that the shooting had shaken the Police Department. The Jackson, Georgia police force where she works has 13 sworn officers.
She was taken to a Macon Hospital for treatment of wounds. The chief said at the time, according to WGXA: “We’re just like family and it’s certainly shaken all of us. There again, we know it’s a necessary evil of the job, but we will prevail, we will put this behind us and we have a duty to protect and serve and that’s what we will do.”
At the time, according to WVTM, the chief praised Hall, saying, “I’ve talked with her, she’s in good spirits and really she is ready to try to come back to work. She’s very professional at all costs, she’s highly trained, she gives it her all.”
The station added that she had been provided counseling “to grieve.”
Authorities now allege that the story was made up by Hall.
2. Police Said Previously That They Were Searching for the Man Who Shot Hall
According to WSB-TV, the police chief, James Morgan, said on September 13 that Hall was on patrol when she confronted a man sitting on the side of the road who became combative.
“She was just only trying to identify the person and just have a brief conversation just to generally find out why he was sitting at the end of the street,” Morgan said, according to WSB, adding that the man shot Hall in the stomach area. The shooting story was heavily covered by local media.
Watch a local news reporter’s Facebook Live post about the case here:
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to independently investigate the shooting, according to WMAX.
According to a GBI news release reported by WMAX, “Sherry Hall alleged through three separate interviews with the GBI that she was shot by a black male subject who was positioned near the wood line at the cul-de-sac on Camellia Court. Sherry Hall further advised that she did not engage her in car video and audio recording equipment.”
The release says GBI expended at least 600 hours on the investigation. The release adds, “Video and audio evidence was recovered from the hard drive of the (squad) unit. After hours of subsequent examination of that video evidence, it was revealed that inconsistences existed with regard to Sherry Hall’s statements, witness statements, physical evidence, and later examination of forensic evidence.” According to the release, authorities allege she stopped cooperating after being shown the video. They also allege there was never a male gunman.
3. Hall Fired Two Shots During the Incident & Allegedly Planted a Shell Casing, Reports Say
CBS 46 says, “Hall is accused of issuing false statements and writings and concealment of facts, tampering with evidence, interfering with government property and violation of oath.”
Watch one of the original news reports on the shooting above.
The station adds that Hall allegedly “fired two shots into the wood line near Camellia Court using the Glock .22 issued to her by the Jackson Police Department” and then planted a shell casing with another police gun to make it look like it came from the suspect.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation news release says Hall “is currently located in a private facility, of her own volition, and upon release she will be arrested, processed, and booked at the Butts County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center.” That facility was not identified.
4. Hall Served as a Sheriff’s Deputy Before Joining the Police Force Four Years Ago
Hall was new to the Jackson police force.
WGXA-TV reported that Hall “started at the Jackson Police Department July 3rd of this year…she has been in law enforcement for at least four years. She previously served with the Griffin Police Department and as a Butts County Sheriff’s Deputy. ”
5. Hall Was Previously Charged With a Felony, Reports Say
WVTM-TV says Hall “has also been previously charged with a felony. She was charged with first-degree criminal damage to property after an arrest in Spalding County in the 90s and received a five year probation.”