A Georgia officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man has been promoted, according to WXIA.
Less than a year after Nicholas Thomas died in the March 2015 shooting, the officer who fired the fatal shot, Sgt. Kenneth Owens, is being promoted to lieutenant.
“These people are not taking us seriously,” the deceased man’s mother, Felicia Thomas, told radio station V-103. “They are laughing at us. America is promoting police officers who are killing our children.”
Nicholas Thomas, 23, was working at a Goodyear tire store in March of 2015 when Smyrna and Cobb County police officers arrived to arrest him on a felony probation warrant.
Thomas was in a customer’s Maserati when police arrived and, according to police, used the vehicle to try to run over officers. The Smyrna Police Department claimed officers gave commands to Thomas once the car came to a stop, but got no response, WSB-TV reported.
Ga. Cop Promoted Less Than a Year After Fatally Shooting Black Man Over Probation WarrantClick to tweet
A witness at the scene, however, told a different story.
“They were standing behind the car, opening fire. He wasn’t driving towards them,” Goodyear customer Brittany Eustache told the local news station.
“The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him. The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn’t go any further,” she added.
In July a Cobb County grand jury ruled that the shooting was justified.
Owens will officially receive the rank of Lieutenant on Monday, February 15, 2016.