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Grand Jury to Review Deadly Tallahassee Police Shooting of Thomasville Teen

The question at hand is, were the officers justified when they shot and killed a 17-year-old teenager? His family says no, the police chief says yes; now a grand jury must decide.

An emotional battle is about to be played out in a Leon County courtroom. The key players are four Tallahassee police officers, two suspects, and a dead teenager.

John Hayes, the Thomasville teen, was shot and killed during a felony stop last November.

Police claim Hayes refused commands to step away from the car, and instead lunged toward it with a gun in reach. That's when all four officers opened fire.

Walt McNeil, Tallahassee Police Chief, said on November 28, "The officers were very clear in their commands. They were aware there was a weapon in the car; they were following procedure as we understand it."

The teenager's family disagrees, saying it was unnecessary use of deadly force.

Jody Weathers, family attorney, says, "John Frances's civil rights were unlawfully violated. There was unnecessary deadly force in this case.”

It’s a case that requires a grand jury decide if the officers gunfire was justified. The family attorney says they will go through with a civil suit against the Tallahassee Police Department no matter what the grand jury decides.

We'll have live coverage from the Leon County Courthouse Wednesday on Eyewitness News.


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