Militant Journalism

#JusticeForDeaundrePhillips: Atlanta DA Fani Willis again declines to charge killer cops

“How can this man change his story two and three times and not be charged … with this murder?” — Tyvonna Phillips, in white, at center

On August 11, prominent activists, advocates, organizers, family members and community members, including Justice For Georgia, Attorney Gerald Griggs and many others, came together to protest against the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ decision to not prosecute Atlanta Police Officer Yasin Abdulahad for the murder of Deaundre Phillips.

Tyvonna Phillips, Deaundre’s mother, lays out a familiar story: Her son was killed in 2017 due to a “suspicious person” call, but his killer is still on the force. As of this week, Fani Willis has closed this case, citing an unsubstantiated claim that Phillips was “reaching for his gun.”

However, as Tyvonna Phillips reported to Liberation News, the gun was found on the floorboard of the passenger side. What is the likelihood that Deaundre would decide to simultaneously attempt to shoot Officer Abdulahad and drive off? Further challenging this narrative is documented evidence of the cop’s aggression toward Black Atlantans (CW: graphic images).

The story has been changing seemingly at the will of the police for years now. Initially, Abdulahad reported that he had been shot while being dragged by Phillips’ car, but when the surveillance video surfaced showing that the officer was fully out of the car and upright, it was reported that Abdulahad was fearful of being run into a pole. The video, however, clearly shows the officer taking just one shot at near point-blank range and calmly walking toward the car as it rolls away with Deaundre Phillips shot dead. 

Tyvonna Phillips also told us of the scramble she was subjected to earlier this week, when the DA’s office abruptly contacted her Monday night to meet the next day, August 10. This meeting is when Fani Willis’ office ostensibly did its due diligence by informing the family that it had been concluded that Phillips was reaching for his gun, and therefore this case would be closed. 

This is not the first distasteful Zoom meeting Tyvonna Phillips has had with DA Willis. Before Willis was even sworn in, she met with Tyvonna Phillips and five other families in some apparent overture toward their grief. However, when they “asked her if she knew any of their stories … she knew nothing, period.” Tyvonna Phillips was also clear that Willis was overall dismissive in her demeanor, calling it “funky” and “bad vibes.” If Willis does not even have the ability to show respect and express genuine condolences during a meeting with people united by Atlanta police terror, how can any of the people of Fulton County have any trust in her?

Liberation News has already reported on Willis’s attempts to push Rayshard Brooks’ case to another jurisdiction before refusing to prosecute killer cop Garrett Rolfe. Leaving families without justice for their deceased relatives while pretending to be supportive of Black lives seems to be business as usual for this DA and the Atlanta criminal justice system writ large.

Photo credit: Justice for Georgia. Shared with permission.

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