WTOC Investigates: Lawyer's video claims police shooting of Ricky Boyd unjustified

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Initially, the death of 20-year-old Ricky Boyd was determined by police to be the result of a murder suspect shot by officers after he shot at them first.

Hours later it became the result of a murder suspect confronting police with what appeared to be a handgun.

And finally, it became the result of a murder suspect refusing to drop a BB gun after being ordered to do so.

Which was it? Or was it any of those scenarios at all?

Boyd's family wants the truth and knows that to get it, the rest of us will have to see what they saw that morning, by seeing what was recorded by police body cameras.

For 11 weeks now, Boyd's family has been saying the same thing about the morning that 20-year-old stepped out of his home and into a semi-circle of U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force and Savannah-Chatham Metro officers.

Boyd's grandmother was the first ordered out of the house that morning and says she was positioned not 30 feet from the front door when Ricky exited the house.

"And I see Ricky come out. And you could hear somebody saying to him, like must be calling him or saying something. Cause you could see him where he turned around this way like a voice came from this way. Then a voice came from that way. Then I heard somebody say, he got a gun. I say, 'Don't shoot. He don't have no gun. Don't shoot. Don't have no gun,'" Mattie Wallace said.

What followed was chaos on Marian Circle. Family, friends and neighbors screaming about what they claimed was an unjustified police shooting.

Adding confusion to the events of that morning were the statements coming from law enforcement.

"He initiated gunfire towards officers. The officers returned gunfire," initially stated Savannah Police Interim Chief Mark Revenew.

That was followed hours later with a statement omitting the claim Boyd ever fired at police.

"They called out the suspect and he confronted them with a weapon," Chief Revenew said.

That weapon was quickly identified as a BB gun, not a firearm.

Despite witness claims, the GBI later said police gave Boyd verbal commands to drop the gun but he raised it toward them. And despite a Savannah Police sergeant being hit by multiple "bullets" - not BB's - in the alleged exchange of gunfire, the Savannah Police Twitter page still says Boyd initiated "gunfire" with officers.

In an effort to calm the anger, members of the family say the GBI showed them at least one body camera view of what took place that morning. No questions, just a quick look and an escort out.

Klugh: "You've seen this footage?"

Wallace: "Yes."

Klugh: "is it body camera footage?"

Wallace: " Yes."

Klugh: "Does it hold up to what you're telling me here today?"

Wallace: "Yes."

Now Wallace wants the rest of the world to see the same footage.

"The reason I want the video to be seen, they will see that Ricky didn't have a gun. That's why it's important. They will see that my grandson got shot for nothing," Wallace said.

Based on what they saw, Savannah attorney Will Claiborne was hired to help tell the family's story and to get answers.

Thursday morning, his firm released its own video pointing out the inconsistencies he claims exist in the police version of what happened that January morning.

"People in the community need to know that Ricky Boyd did not have a gun on him when the police shot him," Claiborne said.

One of the items Claiborne points to is this never before seen photograph he says was taken by a neighbor, moments after the shooting stopped. In it, you can see what appears to be a police officer behind the pine tree.

But perhaps more important is what's laying on the ground just behind him. Is that the BB gun police claim Boyd refused to drop?

It certainly matches the pine straw covered location in this GBI-released forensic photograph.

Now, Claiborne says, is the question of its location.

Klugh: "Show me where the gun was found."

Claiborne: "The gun was found 43 feet to my left this direction."

Klugh: "Take me there."

Claiborne: "So, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, about fifteen full paces."

Klugh: "This is where the gun was."

Claiborne: "Approximately here."

Klugh: "And that picture shows the gun as well as an officer behind the tree."

Claiborne: "That picture was taken from the front door area here of the house next door. And from that picture, we were able to place the gun approximately here. And we laid down measuring tape and it took two 25-foot tape measures to get the distance."

Claiborne says Boyd would have to throw the gun into the neighbor's yard after being shot. So, did he?

Klugh: "What's to say that Ricky didn't just throw that weapon?"

Claiborne: "The tape. The tape of the incident, the body cam footage is what will show what happened. If they release that footage then we'll see Ricky come out the door. And we'll see, is there a dramatic throwing gesture that he makes to throw a BB gun, 43 feet would require some actual effort."

Claiborne and Boyd's grandmother say the tape will clear Ricky Boyd's name.

"I always had faith in our system. But when it hit home, you see reality. Reality really wakes you up," Wallace said.

Claiborne is hoping this short video will wake police up to the reality that proving their version of events, or disproving Rick Boyd's family, will require the release of that body camera footage.

The GBI, which was given control of the Ricky Boyd investigation, turned its results over to the Chatham County District Attorney's Office for review.

And then this: Alderman Tony Thomas posting Claiborne's video to his own Facebook page saying he does not have faith in Meg Heap's office to investigate this case. "Bring in the Feds," he adds.

He also says something the Boyd family would likely agree with, "If Chief Revenew is telling the truth, then why not release the video?"

Once we do get a chance to see that footage, so will you.

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