SAVANNAH, Ga. — A day after authorities said a man kicked out a patrol car window while handcuffed and then was fatally shot by Savannah police, community leaders pleaded for calm and pledged transparency while state officials investigate.
Charles Smith, 29, was arrested on outstanding warrants Thursday on the city's west side, according to police. While wearing handcuffs and sitting in the car, authorities said, he was able to move his hands to the front of his body. Officers said they saw Smith had a firearm when he was attempting to leave the car and an officer fatally shot him.
The police officer, 10-year veteran David Jannot, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Julian Miller said in a statement. Police requested that the GBI investigate the shooting, authorities said.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang said Thursday that a gun was found under Smith's body during the crime scene investigation and the "arrest encounter" was captured on video.
Police have not said how many shots were fired, nor have they explained how Smith was handcuffed and placed inside the patrol car when they say he still had a gun. It wasn't clear whether video recorded what happened inside the car, outside it or both. None of the video has been released.
The results of an autopsy performed Friday by the GBI's crime lab weren't immediately made available. Lang said the agency is working with the Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office on how to share the autopsy findings.
Local media reported that Mayor Edna Jackson, Interim Savannah-Chatham Police Chief Julie Tolbert and other city officials joined religious leaders at a church on Friday afternoon to appeal for calm. Demonstrators gathered without incident on Thursday after the shooting, which was reported around 11 a.m.
Each speaker asked for patience while the investigation continues and promised to be open as they learn more about the events leading to Smith's death.
"We are also grieving the loss of this young man," Tolbert said according to The Savannah Morning News. "We would not have wanted this incident to occur. But it did occur."