CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. — The family attorney of a 37-year-old woman shot during a raid by the Camden County Sheriff's Office denounced her killing as unnecessary.
On May 4, Latoya James was visiting her cousin, 46-year-old Varshaun Brown at his home south of Woodbine.
During that time, deputies with the Camden County Sheriff's Office carried out a drug-related search warrant at the home, the sheriff's office said. Gunfire eventually broke out between officers and those inside the home. When it was over, James was dead. Her cousin was injured.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation eventually released part of the bodycam video of the incident. Deputies knock and announce themselves in the video, and one can hear gunshots ring out. However, there is not much to be seen.
"How much more does it take?" local pastor Mack Knight, said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "How many more unarmed Black people does it take to die in America at the hands of those who are hired to protect and serve, but yet they chase, they bust in doors at 4:00 in the morning, and they kill?"
WARNING: Below is the bodycam video that has been released. Some of the video may be disturbing.
The family's attorney Reginald Greene believes deputies didn’t follow search warrant procedures saying didn’t wait for a refusal from those inside the home before entering.
“At the end of the day, folks have a right to defend themselves. If somebody kicked in my door at 4:00 in the morning, my first reaction is going to be ‘oh no, this is an intruder,'" Greene said. “They didn’t even wait five whole seconds. I think it was a split second decision. Boom. The door is open, an innocent woman is shot and killed. That’s what happens when you don’t take the time to execute these warrants properly. Our theory is, whether it was a no-knock warrant on paper or not, it was executed in that manner and that is what the root of the problem is.”
Greene and Mack demanded GBI release all the bodycam video. The family has also asked for a copy of the warrant used in the raid.
"I don't know what to say," James' mother Betty Jean Murphy-James said. "They took my baby. They took her life then they took her dignity. They took her from me, and I wanna know why."
Attorney Greene said they will wait until they have all the facts in the case before taking any legal action.
You can watch Wednesday's press conference below.