Avondale Estates officer, cleared in shooting of unarmed man, promoted to chief
An Avondale Estates police sergeant who was investigated for shooting an unarmed man, and was later cleared of any wrongdoing, has been promoted as the city’s new police chief.
The city announced that Lynn Thomas will replace Gary Broden, who retired in June.
“Chief Thomas has worked for the Avondale Estates Police Department (AEPD) since April 2002,” a press release from the city says. “Over the past fourteen years, he has worked tirelessly to help make the City a safe and secure place for residents and the community.”
Decaturish asked City Manager Clai Brown whether the city had considered the shooting incident when making its decision. This story will be updated when he responds.
Thomas was under intense scrutiny after the 2013 shooting of Jayvis Benjamin. Benjamin, who was unarmed, allegedly stole a car then attacked an officer after crashing into someone’s yard. The DeKalb County District Attorney faced criticism for waiting so long to bring the case to a resolution, even after the civil grand jury’s recommendation to bring the case to a criminal grand jury. In March, the District Attorney’s office said it had concluded the shooting was justified.
“In addition to the District Attorney’s Office, the investigation included reviews by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and an outside expert with more than 30 years of law enforcement experience,” the District Attorney said in a press release at the time.
In the press release, Thomas said, “It is an honor to serve the City of Avondale Estates as Chief of Police.”
“I appreciate the community support that has been demonstrated to me and other members of the Avondale Estates Police Department,” he said. “It is a privilege to serve this community, agency, City Manager, and Board of Mayor and Commissioners. My goal is to assist with maintaining the level of professional service the Avondale Estates Police Department provides, while helping create new avenues that will continue to build on the reputation of a strong community based policing organization moving into the future.”
According to the press release, Thomas joined AEPD after graduating from the Clayton County Police Academy. In 2004, he was promoted to corporal and then sergeant in 2007. That same year he was given a Meritorious Service Award by the city and was named Officer of the Year in 2015.