Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jan 2010
Source: Toccoa Record, The (GA)
Copyright: 2010 The Toccoa Record
Author: Buster Smith


After months of anguishing over the shooting death of Jonathan Ayers 
I felt the need to write this letter.

When I first heard about the incident and saw the video my immediate 
thought was that this was a gross misuse of police force.

 From the very beginning I had a gut feeling that the authorities 
were attempting to sweep this under the rug and I feared that they 
would be successful had it not been for the convenience store video.

I also know for a fact that the initial statement given to the local 
radio station by the authorities was changed twice thus resulting in 
three different stories being given.

Even though I have never met Jonathan Ayers or his family my heart 
feels a burden for them. I think it is disgraceful that the 
authorities would use every means they could to smear the character 
of a dead man in an attempt to justify their actions.

After all it's pretty hard for a dead man to answer his critics. They 
even used the testimony of someone who has already given conflicting 
statements to this newspaper.

Whether Jonathan Ayers was guilty or not of what the authorities have 
accused him of does not even begin to justify what happened to him. 
With that said, I must say that at times I myself have been out 
sharing "The Good News about Jesus" in areas of Toccoa where there is 
no telling what all was going on around.

Probably drug dealing, prostitution and who knows what all else. I 
can put myself in his shoes and think what I would do if an unmarked 
Escalade truck pulled up where I was and two guys dressed like drug 
dealers jumped out with guns drawn and approached me.

I don't think I would wait around one second to find out who they 
were or what their motives were. I think I would try to run over them 
or get away the best way I could.

To Jonathan's expectant wife whom I've never met, my thoughts and 
prayers have been and will continue to be with you. I know there is 
no way to bring back your husband and child's father but hopefully 
some justice will take place and hopefully there is some way you will 
be compensated for this senseless tragedy.

Buster Smith

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