Boarts Lawsuit

Attorney Julian McPhillips, center, discusses the lawsuit he filed against the City of Auburn on behalf of Michael and Terry Boarts on Aug. 2 in Tuskegee.

A Macon County grand jury has ruled the police shooting of Melissa Boarts in April was justified, according the Auburn Police Division.

Boarts was shot and killed by two Auburn police officers after her family called 911 worried that she was suicidal and behind the wheel of car on Interstate 85.

Auburn police found Boarts and followed for several miles until she stopped her car on Red Creek Road in Macon County. She was shot after she charged the officers armed with a "lock blade knife," knocking one of the officers to the ground and his gun out of his hands, according to a police press release.

"Officers then rendered her assistance until medical personnel arrived," the press release said. "Boarts died as a result of a single gunshot."

Blood test revealed Boarts was intoxicated over the legal limit, and she had taken at least six medications, some of which were not prescribed to her and some of which warn of adverse effects when combined with alcohol, according to police.

"The Auburn Police Division stands firmly in support of the officers involved, their necessity to make a split second decision in this situation, and their families who have had to endure pain, hurt, and threatening comments caused by false allegations and misinformation that have been proven to be unsupported by the facts of this incident," Police said in the press release. "We, again, extend sympathy to the Boarts family for their loss."

APD Captain Lorenza Dorsey said it would be next week before police consider releasing further information on the case because of receiving the grand jury's finding so late on Friday.

The Opelika-Auburn News has reached out to Julian McPhillips, the Boarts family attorney, and E. Paul Jones, the Macon County district attorney, for comment.

McPhillips filed a lawsuit on Aug. 2 against the city of Auburn over the shooting. At the time he indicated he expected the grand jury to clear the officers.

“The only way we can get justice, unfortunately, because it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it from the criminal side of things … we’re going to have to pursue this case civil,” McPhillips said when he filed the lawsuit.

The Boarts' family have held multiple protest in the past months in front of the Auburn police station.

More than 70,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling on police to release the video of the shooting.

Cynthia Williford contributed to this report.

This story was updated Aug. 26, 2016.


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