Posted: Tuesday, March 16th 2010 at 10:41am
Suit filed in minister's death
By Ken Stanford Staff
Image from security tape showing Rev. Jonathan Ayers inside a Toccoa convenience store last Sep. 1 just minutes before he was killed.
GAINESVILLE - The widow of a Lavonia minister who was shot and killed during a botched drug bust in Toccoa last year has filed suit over the incident.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Abigail Ayers claims in her suit that Billy Shane Harrison was not a certified peace officer at the time of the incident and that he had not been properly trained for undercover narcotics work.
Lawyers for the defendants deny all the accusations contained in the suit which was filed in U.S. District Court in Gainesville Monday.
Other defendants include the sheriffs of Stephens and Habersham counties, the Mountain Judicial Circuit drug squad (made up of officers from several northeast Georgia law enforcement agencies including the Stephens and Habesham sheriff's offices), and other members of the drug squad other than Harrison.
Rev. Jonathan Ayers was shot after undercover drug agents confronted him at a Toccoa convenience store last Sep. 1. The officers, who were in plainclothes and driving unmarked vehicles, say they showed Ayers their badges and ordered him out of his vehicle. Instead, Ayers began driving away and, the agents say, almost hit one of them. At that point, they fired into Ayers' car which wrecked a few blocks away.
In December, a Stephens County Grand Jury refused to press state criminal charges against the officers.
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