Reaction to Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict Deputy - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/19/03 - Angelina County

Reaction to Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict Deputy

by Alex Carias

The lives of Joey Davidson and Ronnie Jefferson changed on July 3. 25-year-old Ronnie James Jefferson of Houston was shot to death during a struggle with Davidson and Deputy Aaron Brown. It happened about 10:30 at night after a traffic stop along Loop 27. Sheriff's officials say Jefferson grabbed Brown's gun and shot Davidson in the leg. Davidson returned fire, killing Jefferson. Those actions by Davidson, were found appropriate by a grand jury.

"In this case, I don't feel that the officers did anything other than the best they could in a difficult situation. So I was not at all surprised by the grand jury's actions," explained Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington.

"Joey did exactly what he had to do. Penal code says you can use as much force against someone that they are using against you. And in this case here, whenever the man pulled the pistol and shot Joey in the leg, he made that decision," added Angelina Sheriff Kent Henson.

This case has received attention from members of the New Black Panther Party, who have said the traffic stop and shooting were racially motivated. But Herrington says the evidence proves otherwise, including a statement from Jefferson's fiance, who was driving their truck that night.

"There were many parts of her statement that coincide with what the deputies said happened. Such as this lady heard one of the deputies say 'he's got my gun', and she also heard one of the deputies say he had been shot. She was also instructed by Mr. Jefferson to lie to the deputy when he was asked what his name was. He had at least two warrants for his arrest, and that's probably why he tried to escape from the deputies and lied about who he was," said Herrington.

Although Davidson has been cleared of any wrongdoing, members of the Angelina County Sheriff's Department say they will continue to struggle with what happened that night.

"It's a tragedy. I don't care. There's really no winners in it. We've got one that's deceased, and an officer that's going to have to deal with that for the rest of his life," said Sheriff Henson.

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