The 2003 shooting death of Kenneth Walker by a Muscogee County Sheriff's deputy will be front and center in the Georgia attorney general's race starting Friday,
Walker's mother, Emily Walker, is featured in a 30-second television commercial for state Rep. Rob Teilhet, who is running in the July 20 Democratic primary against former Dougherty County district attorney Ken Hodges.
Hodges was the special prosecutor who presented the Kenneth Walker case in November 2004 to a Muscogee County grand jury, which did not indict former deputy sheriff David Glisson for his role in Walker's death. Glisson shot Walker during a traffic stop related to a drug investigation. Walker was unarmed at the time of the shooting and no drugs were found in the vehicle.
Glisson is white and Walker was black, and the case caused a racial division in the community.
In the ad, Emily Walker, as the video of the SUV being pulled over plays, says: "You are seeing the last minute of my son's life," Walker says. "He was in a car that was pulled over by mistake. He was lying on the ground unarmed when a police officer shot him twice, in the head. But the officer got off, because the prosecutor, Ken Hodges, forgot to swear him in, tried to hide the video, and then refused to reopen the case. I could never get an answer why."
Then, Walker says: "Mr. Hodges should not be our next attorney general."
Hodges "failed in a fundamental way," Teilhet said in his reason for using the Walker shooting.
"The fundamental job of the attorney general is to seek justice and that was not done in the Walker case," Teilhet said Thursday. "This case was so badly botched that 10,000 people came to Columbus to protest and the Georgia General Assembly had to change the law to make sure it never happens again."
The General Assembly passed a law this year that requires prosecutor's to swear in witnesses testifying in front of a grand jury. Hodges has a run a campaign touting his experience as a prosector and Teilhet's lack of experience.
"Mr. Hodges' conduct in the Walker case goes to two different core characteristics an attorney general needs," Teilhet said. "First is ability. He forgot to swear in a witness. Second is judgment. Forgetting to swear in a witness can be fixed and it was never fixed."
State NAACP President Ed DuBose praised Teilhet for using the ad.
"It is very strong and appropriate," DuBose said. "It reflects the burden Mrs. Walker has had to carry all of these years as the result of – and this is my opinion – an incompetent special prosecutor."
Hodges campaign said Thursday afternoon it had not seen the ad, which will run in all of the major markets in the state.