Matthew Johns caused the victim to receive cuts, bruises, a neck strain, and a concussion
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the GUILTY PLEA of 33-year-old MATTHEW JOHNS, the former Atlanta Police Officer who assaulted an unarmed 15-year-old male while in the line of duty.
Today, July 10, 2019, Former Atlanta Police Officer Matthew Johns pleaded guilty to the entire 8-COUNT INDICTMENT related to the aggravated assault of a 15-year-old male. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell will sentence Johns on July 29, 2019, as a result of the guilty plea.
On September 15, 2016, Atlanta Police Officers were in pursuit of a suspected stolen vehicle traveling along I-75 southbound. The pursuit ended along Lawton Street when a Georgia State Patrol Trooper, who joined the chase, performed a successful PIT maneuver. A 15-year-old male, who was a passenger in the vehicle, exited the car and surrendered himself to authorities by immediately lying on the pavement with his hands up, showing he clearly did not possess a weapon and did not intend to resist.
For no apparent reason and in spite of the teen’s surrender, Atlanta Police Officer Matthew Johns, who was a nine-year veteran of the department, ran toward the young male and proceeded to kick him in the head (3) times while he lay prostrate upon the ground. Johns then pressed his knee to the neck of the teenager. The 15-year-old was rendered unconscious by the assault. The young man received a number of cuts, bruises, a neck strain, and a serious concussion as a result of Johns’ actions. Johns was terminated by Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields on July 26, 2017. A Fulton County Grand Jury indicted Johns on October 11, 2018.
“While criminal justice systems across this country struggle to investigate, prosecute, and hold police officers accountable, in Fulton County a law enforcement officer pleaded guilty today.
There were no demonstrations or marches by concerned citizens, no chants, or any destruction of property. It was not necessary because the criminal justice system did exactly what concerned citizens demand of it; fairness, transparency, and action.
The case was investigated by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. No special prosecutor from another jurisdiction was required.
The case was indicted by a citizen grand jury from Fulton County and moved forward to the Superior Court Bench for final disposition.
Once the case was received, the judges did not recuse themselves or appoint a Senior Judge to handle the matter. Neither did they issue some arbitrary immunity order blocking the State from moving forward.
The police officers involved provided dash cam video which captured the entirety of the incident. Once the officers viewed the tape, they stated their colleague and fellow officer was wrong and agreed to testify against him. The officer was fired, not placed on administrative leave by his very own police chief, his own peers.
Today, he accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea. Today, the Fulton County Criminal Justice System worked!”
Paul L. Howard, Jr.
District Attorney of Fulton County
Johns pleaded guilty to all 8 counts in the indictment including:
- Aggravated Assault (3)
- Aggravated Assault Strangulation
- False Statement (2)
- Violation of Oath by a Public Officer (2)
Johns will be sentenced on July 29, 2019.
Judge Constance Russell, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. The case was handled by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit which includes, Deputy District Attorney Adam Abbate, Executive Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker, Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Mienkwic, Assistant District Attorney Shaneah Jenkins, Assistant District Attorney Nalda Charles, Senior Investigator Greg Thomas, Assistant Chief Investigator Bob Appell, Investigator Christie Alexander, Investigator Donald Hannah, Investigator Raymond Baez, and Victim-Witness Advocate Millicent Taylor.