Officer cleared in fatal shooting

Man with knife lunged at officer, GBI report says

Monday, June 2, 2014 4:08 PM
Last updated Tuesday, June 3, 2014 12:25 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man in February 2013 has been cleared of any criminal charge.

The Richmond County grand jury found insufficient probable cause to warrant an indictment against Deputy Michael Woodard.

Woodard shot 21-year-old Chaz Williams in the Fox Trace Drive apartment he shared with his girlfriend and her brother.

According to the Georgia Bu­reau of Investigation report reviewed by The Au­gusta Chronicle on Monday, Woodard and two other deputies went to Williams’ apartment to take him into custody early Feb. 1.

Earlier that night, Williams had fled a traffic stop, first in his vehicle and then by foot after he crashed near the apartment complex.

When the three officers entered the apartment, they found Williams in the bathroom with a knife cutting his neck, they reported. They yelled at Williams to drop the knife, but he lunged toward Woodard, who fired five shots from his .40-caliber handgun, according to the GBI report.

At least one neighbor reported hearing “drop it” before the gunshots, according to the GBI report.

Williams had a warrant pending for his arrest in connection with a traffic violation in Peachtree City, Ga., according to the officer who tried to pull Wil­liams over that night for ma­king an improper lane change.

Williams’ friends and his mother told GBI agents that he served a year in Iraq and was believed to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He had attempted suicide Dec. 31, 2011, according to the GBI report.

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nocnoc
42489
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nocnoc 06/02/14 - 07:11 pm
13
0
Why waste all the money with the courts????

The guy was silting his throat and decided to go for Death by LEO.

If everyone is telling the truth then this LEO deserves a medal for dropping him and protect the other around this nut job.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 06/02/14 - 06:55 pm
0
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I just
Unpublished

fail to have sympathy for anyone breaking the law and running from it. Vet or not.

willie Lee
421
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willie Lee 06/02/14 - 09:05 pm
0
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Remember O.J.
Unpublished

I hope the family sues as it seems they have a pretty good case. You don't get shot in your own home over a traffic stop. As is typical, I doubt if the boys in blue are telling the truth. They seldom do, and the D.A. and the cops are in bed together. The Grand Jury only hears what the D.A. wants them to hear.

csraguy
2274
Points
csraguy 06/02/14 - 11:52 pm
13
1
New Headline & Content

The Augusta Chronicle and some of their writers continue to put incorrect headlines and poor content in LEO articles, especially those in which an officer had no choice but to use deadly force as he/she was trained to do.

A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man in February 2013 has been cleared of any criminal charge. (Re-Write) A Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy in the process of doing his job is alive today due to the quick action he took when a suspect lunged at him with a knife. Many other officers and persons have died in this exact same scenario but this officer was able to go home to his family due to his training and re-action to the actions of the suspect.

The Richmond County grand jury found insufficient probable cause to warrant an indictment against Deputy Michael Woodard. (Re-Write) As standard procedure, all cases involving the use of deadly force are referred to the Grand Jury for review. Local and State investigations revealed that the officer acted in accordance with his training and the Grand Jury concurred with their findings.

Officers already go through so much trauma and mental anguish after incidents such as this. Then, they must go through Grand Juries and when it is finally revealed that they did EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE TRAINED TO DO, this is the kind of article they get to read in the paper.

No one wants to be labeled a hero for the use of deadly force when saving their own life, the lives of their co-workers and/or others but to merely say "The Richmond County grand jury found insufficient probable cause to warrant an indictment..." is pretty pathetic.

Thank you Deputy Woodard for your service, quick actions, and ensuring that you and those working with you went home safely. Your hard work and dedication to this community is appreciated.

myfather15
55706
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myfather15 06/03/14 - 05:07 am
8
0
csraguy

Good job! Very well put and thank you!!

itsanotherday1
42972
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itsanotherday1 06/03/14 - 08:01 am
4
0
Why was a grand jury looking

Why was a grand jury looking at this anyway? Is it common practice when an officer kills a suspect?

Marinerman1
4827
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Marinerman1 06/03/14 - 08:08 am
6
0
Good and CORRECT call, Grand

Good and CORRECT call, Grand Jury. If I'm called out on a volunteer matter, it is drilled into you -- you are number one, because if you get hurt, you can no longer provide help, or in this case support and protection of his fellow officers. Good job, Deputy Woodard.

nocnoc
42489
Points
nocnoc 06/03/14 - 08:18 am
6
0
IAD1 -

Grand Juries are a Safety Step to ensure it was a Justifiable Shoot.
While in this case and many others, I fail to see the need.

It also adds a layer of Lawsuit insulation for the RCSO from Court House Step Preachers and their broken record rantings about KFBB shootings.

PLUS it makes it harder for bottom feeding lawyers that contact families to "HELP" sue the County.

WHAT I WOULD SUPPORT
A Grand Jury review for Badge Holder Martin over at GRU.
Under GA Grand Jury Rules they can take up any case they chose WITHOUT it being handed to by them by the Solicitor or DA.

shrimp for breakfast
5456
Points
shrimp for breakfast 06/03/14 - 09:14 am
3
0
Grand jury?? Really??

Why did it even get that far???
Ridiculous!!!

AFjoe
2923
Points
AFjoe 06/03/14 - 09:56 am
4
0
Justified

The bathroom is tight quarters. Don't have to lunge to far to stab the LEO. The punk should lock the door next time, oh...that's right, there want be a next time.

itsanotherday1
42972
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itsanotherday1 06/03/14 - 11:12 am
4
0
Good explanation Noc. I hate

Good explanation Noc. I hate to think there was any question about the validity of the officer's actions, considering the evidence.

myfather15
55706
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myfather15 06/03/14 - 04:18 pm
2
0
nocnoc is absolutely correct

Grand jury hearing the case is just another step in completely clearing the officer of any wrong doing; or just another step at eliminating ALL liability from the officer and department. While not all jurisdictions put the cases in front of the grand jury, most do.

rational thought trumps emotion
2558
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 06/03/14 - 10:29 pm
1
0
Grand Juries look into all

Grand Juries look into all use of deadly force cases here as a part of standard procedures.

Nocnoc, it does "appear" that Martin has made some very poor decisions and that the leadership at GRU has failed to act. In my opinion, once he admitted to lying under oath, he should have been done as a LEO in GA and as and LEO I would have no problem with it being investigated further, in fact, I would encourage it.

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