Officer Allows Murder Suspect to Escape During Search

An officer with the Atlanta Police Department reportedly allowed a murder suspect to escape through a window at the same time that fugitive squad units searched for the wanted man.

On May 14, police were searching for Jabri Mathis in connection with an April shooting and murder. Officer Tommy Williams found Mathis at a home on James P. Brawley Drive in Atlanta and allowed the suspect to escape out a window in the house before other officers arrived.

“After the suspect was apprehended and relocated to the patrol car,” the incident report states, “the officers were discussing how it was possible for the suspect to escape out the window when it was covered and the suspect, Jabri Mathis, told the officers: ‘He let me go. I ran right past him.’ He even told the officers that he knew the officer and that his name was Officer Tommy Williams and he was like an uncle to him.”

The report also notes that Williams was given a lookout on Mathis during roll call at least a month before Mathis was arrested and was aware that he was wanted, but never mentioned knowing the suspect.

Mathis remains in the Fulton County Jail, charged with felony murder, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal attempt to commit robbery among other charges.

Police arrested Williams on May 21 and charged him with violation of oath of public office, obstruction of an officer and hindering apprehension of a criminal. He went home on a signature bond a day later and will appear before a judge at the end of the week.

Atlanta police Sgt. Greg Lyon said Tuesday that Williams, who joined the department in October 2012, “is relieved of duty and is scheduled for an emergency hearing with Chief [George] Turner.”

“The Atlanta Police Department takes these allegations very seriously,” Lyon said in an email. ”Chief Turner has always prioritized officer accountability and honesty, and will continue to take decisive action when necessary to hold his officers to the highest standard.”