Atlanta, GA, May 19, 2015 - It has been more than three years since Freda Waiters’ only child, Ariston, was slain on the street of Atlanta’s Union City. Today, she is one step closer to finding out why. On December 14, 2011, nineteen year-old black youth Ariston Waiters received two bullets through the back of his spine, both fired at point-blank range. Waiters was unarmed; his assailant, Luther Lewis, a white Union City police officer with a history of disciplinary incidents, documented as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
In 2013, she sought out and hired private investigator T.J. Ward, a veteran internal affairs officer. Ward launched his own law enforcement career as a Union City police detective. "I knew some of the officers personally," maintains Ward. Ward recorded the conversations, documenting an intentional cover-up of the facts surrounding Ariston Waiter’s death. "This is a case that even on its face demands re-opening," proclaimed Ward. Yet, Ward’s letters and calls to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard went without response.
According to former Union City Sargent Michael Burdette, "[Police Chief Chuck] Odom knew what happened. He’d boasted that Luther Lewis would be in jail now if it weren’t for him covering it up. He knew we’d tell the truth, so no one asked [us]." Burdette continued, "If an officer were to have filed a report, they’d have lost their job – or worse. If you weren’t in Odom’s inner circle, he’d find a way to terminate you. I must have seen at least twenty [officers] terminated without cause." Burdette, himself, was such a statistic.
Ward brought the recordings to Special Agent James Hosty of the FBI’s Atlanta Bureau, then presented copies of the evidence and recordings to local media, who followed up with interviews of numerous officers, past and present, named from Ward’s investigation, Howard quickly re-opened the case. "All of the signs were there all along," comments Waiters. "If Odom had done his job and taken Lewis off the street, my son would still be here." She intends to drive this point home at the Union City Council Meeting on May 19, asking for his resignation. "I’ve invited the community of Union City and Georgia civil right leaders to attend and participate."
To learn more, please link: http://justice-ward.newswire.com/press-release/t-j-ward-investigation-reveals-intentional-cover-up-of-murdered
T.J. Ward, CLPI