MCDONOUGH, Ga. — The family of a Georgia teenager who was critically injured while allegedly running from the police is now calling for an independent investigation into an officer's actions.
The mother of 19-year-old Jaylin Hughes told WSB her son may never walk again.
She said he suffered multiple neck fractures and a severe spinal cord injury after a fall stemming from an encounter. The officer was responding to a call about four teenagers smoking marijuana inside a car at an apartment complex in McDonough, Georgia, on June 12.
McDonough police officers said that when they spotted the car in question, Hughes made a run for it.
“He attempted to climb the fence and was unsuccessful. The officer gave verbal notice that he was going to deploy his Taser and then deployed Taser," Maj. Kyle Helgerson said. “Mr. Hughes was able to get on the fence after the Taser was deployed. The officer then turned his Taser off and there was only a one-second Taser deployment.”
But what happened next is now the focus of an internal affairs investigation.
“The officer ran toward Mr. Hughes and attempted to get him off the fence but was unsuccessful. Apparently, Mr. Hughes' momentum pulled him over the fence and he slipped out of the officer’s hands,” Helgerson said.
“Jaylin is afraid of police. He didn’t want to have any problems,” said Hughes’ uncle, Sidney Hughes. "I’m having problems trying to understand how a minor incident leaves a kid paralyzed.”
The teenager’s family is calling on investigators to release video from a body camera.
“I want all the facts brought out,” Sidney Hughes said. “He’s 19, so he’s prone to make 19-year-old mistakes but nothing out of the ordinary. He’s no gangster, no thug or anything like that.”
WSB was denied an open records request to the police department for body camera footage because of the ongoing investigation.
Hughes is charged with obstruction of justice and possession of marijuana.
Police officials said the officer who deployed his Taser remains on active duty, stating there is no evidence that a crime was committed, which is why they have not requested assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Officials also said the internal investigation will focus on policies and procedures.
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