CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap was quiet during the investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of Ricky Boyd.
The grand jury took their time coming to a decision, not because there were questions, but because the grand jury had a lot of information to review, including 32 witnesses who testified, reading taped statements from witnesses who declined to testify in person, body camera video, and pictures. It also included GBI Crime Lab testimony and a live demonstration by the GBI to break down what happened.
After the members of the grand jury sat through and reviewed all the evidence, that's when they arrived at the 'justified shooting' conclusion. Heap says the men and women not only watched the body camera video, but they had it slowed down to see what happened moment by moment.
"If you saw in the findings the fact that the grand jury, they would recommend that if you look at it frame by frame, which they did time and time again, I believe multiple times they watched the video," Heap said.
The DA says there was no reason to comply with the Boyd family's lawyer's demands to turn the case over to federal investigators by his deadline.
"I take your case, good, bad, and the ugly, and I treat you the same way," Heap said. "I have a procedure and that's how it's got to be followed because you have to have faith that if it's your case, if it's your brother's case, if it's your sister's, it's going to be handled the same way."
She says her office did not approve releasing the image of the gun to the public because it would be taken out of context.
"We had testimony from law enforcement officers, from civilians, neighbors in the community, and even taped statements from the family. They all corroborated, so if you pull one piece out and extract it, manipulate it, then you're not getting the full story, and that is not fair to anyone involved," Heap said. "I think the grand jury made a detailed finding of what they looked at and the conclusions they drew, so that should give you some faith in the system."
Heap also says the grand jury took their jobs seriously to be thorough with the various pieces of evidence.
"You shouldn't make comments unless you have all the facts. To do so, I think, is careless, and it's harmful to the family. It's harmful to everybody involved," the district attorney said.
Heap says there's a reason we have a criminal justice system that examines every inch of evidence and comes to an impartial conclusion.
"This is my job. I took an oath. If a crime has been committed, the facts are there, the evidence is there, and the law is applicable, then you have to go forward," she said.
Savannah Police Interim Chief Mark Revenew said in a press conference Thursday, that the process if this investigation required them to be silent. Since that - unfortunately - caused mistrust in the community.
"The public has been subjected to a one-sided, calculated campaign of misinformation," Chief Revenew said.
He says all eight officers who shot Boyd acted appropriately and professionally.
"We have neither interfered with nor attempted to influence the outcome. The public should have total confidence in the process and its results," Revenew said.
What happens next? The Department of Justice is coming in to work on an investigation. The feds will be looking for any civil rights violations. This is common for high profile shootings. The district attorney tells us she welcomes the investigation.