Source: Leon Wolf
Prosecutors and police are outraged after a judge granted bond, over the state’s objections, to an alleged gang member who is accused of shooting an Atlanta police officer six times in February.
Atlanta police officer David Rodgers was shot six times on February 7, 2022, reportedly while attempting to execute a warrant on Christian Eppinger. Atlanta police say that Eppinger is a member of the Atlanta Slime Life street gang and that he has a lengthy history of convictions for violent crime beginning from the time he was 16 years old. Police say that Eppinger previously spent four years behind bars, and that after he was released on probation, he returned immediately to a life of crime. Police accuse Eppinger of having laid in wait for Rodgers and attempting to “assassinate” him when he served the warrant.
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Rodgers survived the shooting but is still recovering.
Due to Eppinger’s lengthy criminal history, and the nature of his offense, the Fulton County District Attorney opposed bond, but a magistrate judge granted Eppinger bond over the state’s objections. District Attorney Fani Willis announced Wednesday that she had filed an emergency motion for reconsideration of bond, calling the decision a “judicial error” caused by an order that allows unelected magistrate judges to set bonds.
“I have a problem with the fact that judges that are not elected, that are not superior court judges, would even have the authority right now to even hear cases that involve gangs,” Willis said. Willis also commented that the judge may have been under pressure to grant bond because of a Georgia law that requires defendants to be granted bond if their case is not put before a grand jury or an indictment within 90 days.
Officials were particularly aggravated by a post to Eppinger’s Instagram, which may have been posted by someone acting on his behalf, that proclaimed, “The judge gave me a bond today. I’ll be home soon.”
Willis did note that she does not believe that Eppinger will actually be released from jail, because his probation will likely be revoked. “We quite frankly believe that Judge Schwall, who is the judge hearing the revocation, is likely going to sentence this gentleman to between 50 and 60 years in jail, which is the max that he can get,” Willis said.
Atlanta police chief Rodney Bryant said, “We find it quite appalling that this individual received this level of bond, but we appreciate the actions taken so swiftly by this DA’s office.”