In 2016, Jamarion Robinson was brutally executed by the police. Five years later and his mother is still fighting for justice.
At the time of the shooting, Jamarion was a 26-year old Black student-athlete at Tuskegee University. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia less than a year prior.
In the months following his diagnosis, his mental health significantly deteriorated. One morning in July 2016, his mother Monteria Robinson woke up to the smell of gasoline in her house. She called the police, informing them that her son was in the house and suffered from mental illness. The incident made her profoundly concerned for her son’s health.
The police report claimed that Jamarion poured gas on the floor of the house and attempted to light it. They charged Jamarion with attempted arson and issued a warrant for his arrest (he allegedly fled when police arrived at his mother’s house). The Atlanta Police Department also had a previous warrant for his arrest for allegedly pointing a gun at two officers. Before this episode, Jamarion had no criminal convictions.
On August 5, 2016, a 16-person task force showed up at Jamarion Robinson’s girlfriend’s apartment in East Point, Georgia. The officers rammed the door open and fired 90 rounds into the apartment. Jamarion was shot 59 times*, including two times after he was already dead by an officer standing directly over him. They also used a flash-bang grenade. Not one body camera was on.
When the police told her that her son had been shot and killed by law enforcement, Monteria was in disbelief. Following her son’s funeral, Monteria assembled a team of experts, including a private investigator and forensic expert. She was determined to bring justice to her son.
The authorities claimed that they shot into the apartment in response to Jamarion firing at the police. However, a report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found that the only gun inside the apartment was inoperable. Additionally, a civil rights lawyer working on Jamarion’s case claims that the gun doesn’t even have Jamarion’s fingerprints on it.
Monteria pleaded with the district attorney to file charges against the officers who killed her son, identified as U.S. Marshal Eric Heinze and Clayton County Police Officer Kristopher Hutchens.
In December 2018, Paul Howard, the former Fulton County District Attorney, filed a criminal lawsuit against the Department of Justice to obtain federal records. However, Howard later withdrew his subpoenas in the “spirit of cooperation.”
Monteria didn’t quit. She spoke to anyone who would listen, started a petition to reopen Jamarion’s case, and encouraged people to call the Fulton District Attorney’s Office. She also organized 10 murals throughout Atlanta with Jamarion’s face on them and commissioned a billboard.
Speaking to the PHG Podcast, she said,
“My son’s case is one of the most heinous cases in US History and nobody is talking about it. Since ya’ll are not saying my son’s name, since ya’ll act like you don’t see me, I’m about to make you talk about my son.”
That she did.
Fani Willis replaced Howard as the Fulton County DA in January 2021. Willis listened to Monteria and followed through on her word. Both officers were formally charged on eight counts, including felony murder, aggravated assault, first-degree burglary, false statements, and violation of oath by a public officer.
When asked for her reaction to the criminal conviction, Monteria said,
“It’s one step in the right direction.”
As of the writing of this article, both officers surrendered themselves to Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and were released two hours later on bond.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health crisis, here are alternatives to the police you can call.
*Some news sources claim that he was shot 76 times, however, the medical examiner found 76 bullet wounds, not bullets. The total wounds include 59 entrance wounds and 27 exit wounds caused by 59 bullets in total.