New political ad stirs Kenneth Walker controversy

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - On December 10th, 2003, a gray GMC Yukon was pulled over by members of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Department, just north of the Macon Road exit on Interstate 185 southbound.

Now, nearly six and a half years later, a candidate for Georgia's Attorney General is using what happened next to gain votes in a political advertisement.

It begins with dash cam video of the traffic stop, followed by somber words from Emily Walker.

"You are seeing the last minute of my son's life. 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," Walker says.

Her son, 39 year old Kenneth Walker was fatally shot that December night.

As time has passed, the wounds remain fresh to many in Columbus, some around the state, and in legal circles around the country.

It is still, in many ways, unclear exactly what happened that night.

Georgia State Representative Rob Teilhet reached out to Walker's mother Emily nearly 18 months ago to produce this advertisement.

As a member of the Georgia General Assembly, he watched the case receive national attention.

He's now running for Attorney General against the man, Ken Hodges, who prosecuted Sheriff's Deputy David Glisson for the shooting, and lost.

Glisson faced a grand jury, but never received an indictment for his role in the shooting.

"The reason that the Kenneth Walker case still moves so many people in Columbus is because the case was not handled in a way that gave the public any confidence in the outcome," Teilhet said on Friday.

He claims this advertisement is not meant to open the issue of Walker's shooting, but to enlighten voters about Hodges failures as the special prosecutor in the case.

Richard Hagler, the man who squared off against Hodges in the Walker grand jury hearing, has a much different viewpoint, and claims the ad contains false truths.

"The ad strikes me, number one, not factually accurate, and number two, as a politicians desperate attempt to raise a race issue, when it shouldn't be there," Hagler said.

Hagler did reiterate the vehicle, the GMC Yukon, that was pulled over had been involved in a drug investigation and that autopsy results did yield cocaine in Walker's system when he died.

Teilhet said he simply wanted Emily Walker to tell her story, to convey the emotions of what she's felt for the past six and a half years, and illustrate that Hodges could have taken a different course with the evidence and obtained an indictment.

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