Ad transforms Georgia attorney general race

ATLANTA --- When the TV ad appeared featuring a grief-stricken mother urging the public not to vote for a state attorney general candidate, the Georgia primary season took a sharp turn.

This image from a campaign video provided by the Rob Telheit campaign shows Emily Walker, Kenneth Walker's mother, who is featured in the 30-second spot for Democratic state Rep. Rob Teilhet, criticizing his opponent Ken Hodges for failing to secure a grand jury indictment against the deputy who shot and killed her unarmed son during a traffic stop.  Associated Press
Associated Press
This image from a campaign video provided by the Rob Telheit campaign shows Emily Walker, Kenneth Walker's mother, who is featured in the 30-second spot for Democratic state Rep. Rob Teilhet, criticizing his opponent Ken Hodges for failing to secure a grand jury indictment against the deputy who shot and killed her unarmed son during a traffic stop.

Even in a state known for tough political ads, the spot was eye-catching. And risky.

With less than a week before the state primary, the bare-knuckles race for attorney general has managed to make the battle for governor appear almost tame in comparison.

Kenneth Walker's mother, Emily, is featured in the 30-second spot for Democratic state Rep. Rob Teilhet, criticizing his opponent Ken Hodges for failing to secure a grand jury indictment against the deputy who shot and killed her unarmed son in a case that exposed racial tensions in west Georgia.

"He was lying on the ground unarmed when a police officer shot him twice in the head," Emily Walker says in the ad, which began airing last week. "But the officer got off because the prosecutor, Ken Hodges, forgot to swear him in, tried to hide the video and then refused to reopen the case. I could never get an answer why."

The advertisement has put Hodges on the defensive.

"The death of Kenneth Walker was a tragedy, and my heart continues to be with the family," he said during Sunday's candidate debate. "The fact that my opponent wants to exploit the family's grief and use it for political purposes is, quite frankly, disgusting."

Hodges and Teilhet have been fierce rivals. Even before the Walker ad, the two traded accusations over endorsements and experience. Teilhet has defended the ad, saying Hodges is running on his experience and that the Walker case is an important part of his record.

Walker was pulled over in December 2003 after officers said they watched him leave a home that was staked out during a drug investigation. Video shows Muscogee County sheriff's Deputy David Glisson shooting Walker in the head, killing him. No drugs or firearms were found in the vehicle or on any of its occupants.

Hodges, a former Dougherty County district attorney, was appointed the special prosecutor to present the case to the Muscogee County grand jury in November 2004. The panel decided not to indict Glisson, stirring racial tensions in Columbus because Walker was black and the deputy is white.

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fish2
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fish2 07/14/10 - 07:43 am
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Something is not right here,

Something is not right here, what is the Deputy's side of the story? If what the mother said is accurate Hodges should have been removed from his duties as incompetent.

harrisjr
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harrisjr 07/14/10 - 07:49 am
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What!!! only one comment. Now

What!!! only one comment. Now this is a topic that needs to be commented on.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 07/14/10 - 08:03 am
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I deplore the news media's

I deplore the news media's penchant for making news stories out of paid advertisements. It gives unfair leverage to the person paying for the ads. In effect, the Associated Press and the Chronicle are giving free publicity to candidate Rob Teilhet.

heed4108
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heed4108 07/14/10 - 10:02 am
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@fish2...If you read the

@fish2...If you read the article it appears as if the video showed the Deputy's side of the story. The man was lying on the ground and unarmed when the deputy shot him in the head twice. None of the occupants in the vehicle had drugs or weapons on them. I know this may be hard for some people to fathom but sometimes this happens. Officers shoot people either by accident or for no reason. What makes this case sad is that this Deputy was never even brought to trial to give his side of the story or for the family to hear it. Where is the justice in that? I agree Hodges should've been removed for his incompetence but the officer should've been fired and that didn't happen. He was protected by Hodges while this family is left with unanswered questions and a lifetime of loss.

corgimom
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corgimom 07/14/10 - 12:12 pm
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"Kenneth Walker's mother,

"Kenneth Walker's mother, Emily, is featured in the 30-second spot for Democratic state Rep. Rob Teilhet, criticizing his opponent Ken Hodges for failing to secure a grand jury indictment against the deputy who shot and killed her unarmed son in a case that exposed racial tensions in west Georgia."

He's not responsible for how a Grand Jury votes. He presented it to the Jury, which was his job.

The mother needs to blame the Grand Jury.

corgimom
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corgimom 07/14/10 - 12:15 pm
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http://peanutpolitics-keith.b

http://peanutpolitics-keith.blogspot.com/2010/07/about-that-teilhet-ad-f...

"There was insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against a Muscogee County Sheriff’s Deputy who shot and killed Kenneth Walker on December 10, 2003.

An independent investigation, which carefully considered all of the evidence into the shooting incident, was conducted by the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. During the investigation, federal officials reviewed a Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigative report; a Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office investigative report; forensic evidence reports; a videotape of the incident; and the autopsy report for Kenneth Walker. FBI agents also interviewed a number of witnesses and medical personnel who had not been interviewed by local investigators. The Walker family and local civil rights groups were also afforded the opportunity to provide information to investigators. After carefully reviewing all of the evidence, the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI determined that the tragic incident did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes.

In order to prove a violation of the applicable federal criminal civil rights laws, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a Constitutional right. To act “willfully,” for purposes of the federal statute, means to act with a bad purpose to disobey or disregard the law. An accident, mistake, fear or bad judgment is not sufficient to establish such a criminal violation.

Experienced civil rights prosecutors reviewed the voluminous reports generated during the investigation. Based on that review, federal officials determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the deputy who fatally shot Kenneth Walker acted willfully, that is with the specific intent to do something the law forbids. Accordingly, the Department has closed this investigation without prosecution.

The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI devoted many hours and significant resources to a complete and careful review of the events surrounding Kenneth Walker’s tragic death. The decision not to pursue criminal charges is based on painstaking analysis of the facts developed during a lengthy and thorough investigation. The Department of Justice remains committed to investigations of this kind and stands ready to devote the resources required to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated. The Department of Justice aggressively prosecutes criminal civil rights violations whenever the evidence developed in these investigations warrants doing so."

The mother's allegations that Ken Hodges was guilty of misconduct, and that's why the deputy wasn't tried, simply are not true.

KingJames
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KingJames 07/14/10 - 01:27 pm
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Corgimom, I think the point

Corgimom, I think the point of the ad is to try to show Hodges as an incompetent lawyer, or at least put the thought that he could be in the minds of voters. Emily Walker says in the ad, "He was lying on the ground unarmed when a police officer shot him twice in the head...But the officer got off because the prosecutor, Ken Hodges, forgot to swear him in, tried to hide the video and then refused to reopen the case. I could never get an answer why." Neither the ad nor the above article mention any of what you found on this case. The information you found did shed a lot of light on why the deputy wasn't charged. Basically, I feel Mrs. Walker's grief is being exploited. Mrs. Walker is a grieving mother looking for someone to blame for her son's death. Rob Teilhet is taking advantage of her for his own political gain. When you stop to think about it, most people would have focused their anger on the deputy, and not the system that failed to prosecute him. This ad should be a reason for people to vote against Teilhet because he's obviously twisting the truth. I usually don't take ads like this into consideration at all when I'm deciding who to vote for because I know the whole truth is not being fully represented.

bettyboop
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bettyboop 07/14/10 - 06:05 pm
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""Basically, I feel Mrs.

""Basically, I feel Mrs. Walker's grief is being exploited."".....exploited my Aunt Martha!..I am sure she was well compensated...money will win over grief most of the time.

KingJames
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KingJames 07/15/10 - 01:00 pm
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Bettyboop, even if she was

Bettyboop, even if she was well compensated for the speaking out on the ad, she was still sought out because she is a grieving mother. That means she was exploited. A lot of exploited people get money for something and still suffer.

albertoli
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albertoli 07/22/10 - 10:11 am
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hmm

hmm

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