Grand Jury Findings In The Charles Smith Case

by Gwendolyn Gray, Savannah Tribune Intern, SSU Student

Penny Nelson, the victim’s mother, spoke out about her son’s case during the press conference.
Penny Nelson, the victim’s mother, spoke out about her son’s case during the press conference.

On Thursday, February 19, 2015 Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap held a press conference to present the findings of the grand jury on the Charles Smith case.

A five-day deliberation among the civil grand jury concluded that the Charles Smith case would not need to be deliberated anymore in court.

Charles Smith was shot and killed by Savannah Chatham Metro Police Officer David Jannot in September 2014 on Augusta Avenue after kicking out the window of police cruiser.

According to the Grand Jury Special Presentment this statement was released: “We the Grand Jurors of the December 2014 Term, recommended the District Attorney’s Office pursue no further inquiry against David Jannot of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in regards to a shooting he was involved in on September 18, 2014. We found evidence collected by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and presented to the Grand Jury by the Districts Attorney’s Office on February 19, 20 and 23, 2015, does not support the filing of criminal charges against Jannot.”

The full document revealing all the evidence presented to the Grand Jury is now public record. The community reacted to the Grand Jury’s final decision by holding several peaceful demonstrations, one of which was organized by Rev. Leonard Small. Held at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church located on Augusta Ave (near the September 2014 shooting) Thursday evening, it brought the people of West Savannah and the rest of the community together to talk about what’s next in light of what Small said was the grand jury’s failure to indict Officer David Jannot in the shooting death of Charles Smith.

Last week Defense Attorney Chadrick A. Mance notified the city of Savannah, Chatham County and Savannah-Chatham police that Smith’s family intends to sue for $3 million for his “wrongful death.”

Mance called a press conference on Monday, March 2nd at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. Penny Nelson, the victim’s mother, spoke out about her son’s case during the press conference. Smith’s mother questions all aspects of law enforcement. Mance’s statement was “In the days to come, we anticipate thoroughly reviewing the findings of the GBI and investigating the occurrences that culminated in the death of Charles Smith. We are prepared to vigorously pursue justice on behalf of the Smith family, in whatever form is most appropriate.”

The Grand Jury expressed their sympathy for all families involved in the traumatic incident. They continued by stating “Our hearts go out to all parties involved in this tragedy and hope that weeks that follow can be a period of healing for the entire city of Savannah.”

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