Grand Jury Set to Hear New Witnesses In Police Shooting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/01/03 - Tyler

Grand Jury Set to Hear New Witnesses In Police Shooting

New allegations against Tyler Police officers will go to the Grand Jury. It was a shoot out at the Grand Manor Apartments July 31st, between Tyler Police Officers and Terence Raibon.

Raibon wounded officer Kenneth Gardner before being fatally shot by other officers. A Grand Jury cleared the officers almost a month ago, but now, three witnesses say Raibon was fatally shot while he was already on the ground.

In the moments before the shots were fired, Tawakini Jones and Terrance Black were stopped by bicycle officers at Grand Manor. Yards away, Officer Kenneth Gardner approaches Terence Raibon. Raibon turns and fires. Gardner falls.

Jones says Raibon runs toward them and is wounded -- down on the ground -- three feet away. He then claims an officer told Officer Billy Yates to quote "kick him and see if he's dead."

Jones continues, "By that time, Officer Yates fired into his back. Then [he] kicked him in the head and handcuffed him. Then, I saw his eyes close, and that's when I got up and ran away."

The Grand Jury decided that Officer Yates never fired his weapon at all that evening. Chief Gary Swindle says Tawakini Jones has never told his story to police.

"For two witnesses to come forward some sixty days after all of this information has been released to the public through open records really raises question about these two individuals' credibility," said Swindle.

The other taped interview is with Terrance Black, who, with Jones, was stopped by officers. He contradicts Jones, saying it was Officer Mike Saxion who fired the fatal shot into Raibon. Black fled the scene as well, and hasn't spoken with police. Both men say they were afraid. Swindle says their stories go against the evidence.

"The ballistics, the officer's statements, and the other citizens statements in the complex that night, pretty much discounts anything that these two individuals have been saying," Swindle.

Police heard a similar story about police brutality from 23-year-old Kendrick Williams. But Williams was never called to testify before the Grand Jury. The controversy which followed has forced Assistant District Attorney Jim Huggler to leave his post. Swindle says police want to hear from everyone who saw even the smallest detail. So that everyone is satisfied with the outcome.

"The police department always seeks any witnesses that were at the scene or left the scene, we want them to come forward immediately and give their information.

Officer Kenneth Gardner is still recovering from being shot in the chest that day. He was shot by Terence Raibon before being able to fire his service weapon.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.

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