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117 Luckie St. Atlanta, GA

No criminal charges for fatal Union City officer-involved shooting; Rally tonight at 7:30p

The family of Ariston Waiters still seeks answers and accountability a day after a Fulton County grand jury declined to indict the Union City police officer who fatally shot him.

Family supporters have planned a rally for Thursday evening.

“This is not the end of it,” family attorney Mawuli Mel Davis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the decision was announced late Wednesday evening. “There will be a continued political and legal fight. Community activists have vowed to continue the fight for justice.”

The rally begins at 7:30 p.m., at the Sakofa United Church of Christ, at 150 James P. Brawley Drive.

Waiters’ mother, Freda Waiters wept late Wednesday night as she learned the Union City police officer who shot her teenage son would not be charged, Davis said.

“This officer gets to go back to work tomorrow, and Ms. Waiters will never see her son again,” he said.

Ariston Waiters, 19, was shot and killed after an altercation with a police officer on the night of Dec. 14.

Waiters’ family has led several protests, claiming that the shooting was unjust.

A Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office autopsy report showed that Waiters was shot twice in the back.

Union City police officials have maintained that the officer involved in the shooting was justified in his actions, saying in a statement released in January that Waiters “grabbed the officer’s service weapon” as he was being handcuffed.

Police said witnesses saw Waiters fire shots into the air during a fight at the Hickory Park subdivision, prompting the call to police.

“The family is devastated,” Davis said. “They’re hurt, they’re angry, they’re frustrated.”

The GBI investigated the case, and turned its findings over to the Fulton County District Attorney’s public integrity unit in January.

Waiters is the second 19-year-old shot and killed at the hands of police in a three-month period that the district attorney’s office is investigating.

District Attorney Paul Howard’s office also is investigating the shooting of Joetavius Stafford, who was shot by a MARTA police officer after an altercation in October.

Prosecutors presented the Waiters case to the grand jury on Wednesday, and the decision came down late Wednesday evening.

Davis would not say what legal course, if any, the family wanted to take next, but he said Howard offered his help.

“We do have a commitment from the DA’s office to provide us with the info that they gathered in the course of their investigation,” Davis said. “Our firm will review it and determine how to continue.”