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Smyrna cops begin wearing body cameras

SMYRNA, Ga. -- The Smyrna Police Department became the latest in metro Atlanta to embrace body cameras.

All police officers who come into contact with the public -- including those assigned to the patrol division, detectives, street crimes, K-9, crime prevention, S.T.E.P., DUI Task Force and park rangers -- will wear body cameras.

"We're trying to be as transparent as possible," said Smyrna Police Chief David Lee.

The department spent $68,140 on 75 VieVu LE3 wireless body cameras. Officers will use the equipment to collect evidence and aid in prosecution of people who break the law. Footage captured by the cameras may also be used in investigations involving complaints against officers, or as training aids for the department.

"The decision to purchase body worn cameras was based on increasing transparency and being proactive with community policing," the department said in a statement.

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Ga. Supreme Court upholds ruling on Braves stadium bonds

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously upheld a Cobb County court's ruling that authorized nearly $400 million in bonds to build the new Atlanta Braves stadium.

In an opinion published Monday, the state's high court says issuing the bonds does not violate the Georgia Constitution.

The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority agreed last year to issue up to $397 million in bonds to cover the public share of building the new SunTrust Park in Cobb County's Cumberland area. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved the bond issuance.

During a July 2014 bench trial, three Cobb County residents -- Larry Savage, Richard Pellegrino and T. Tucker Hobgood -- argued the bonds should have received taxpayer approval before being issued. After a Cobb County Superior Court judge validated the bonds, the three appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Nicholas Thomas autopsy report released

SMYRNA, GA (WXIA) -- New developments emerged Friday in a controversial officer-involved shooting.


Twenty-three-year-old Nicholas Thomas died in March after a confrontation with Smyrna Police at a Goodyear Service Center in Vinings.

On Friday, 11Alive's Duffie Dixon pored over the autopsy report.

Thomas was working at the Goodyear Service Center, driving a customer's Maserati around the back of the building to be serviced when police officers showed up.

Nicholas Thomas' family asks to meet with Cobb DA

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- The family of a man shot by a Smyrna police officer in March is asking for a meeting with the Cobb County district attorney before the case goes to the grand jury.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has finished its investigation into the shooting of 25-year-old Nicholas Thomas at the Cobb County Goodyear tire stores where he worked, but is not releasing the details.

GBI officials met with Thomas' mother on Wednesday. Felicia Thomas said she wanted to see the surveillance video which reportedly shows her son being shot by Officer Kenneth Owens.

Thomas said the GBI told her the Cobb County's district attorney, Vic Reynolds, doesn't want anyone to see that footage until the case goes to the grand jury, probably next month.

She said she's very angry about that and also says she doesn't believe the investigation into shooting was thorough enough.

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Suspects rob 2 Cobb County CVS pharmacies

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Cobb County Police believe the same two suspects are behind a pair of pharmacy robberies.

The CVS at Vinings Jubilee in the 4300 block of Paces Ferry Road was robbed Thursday at around 9:40 p.m. Police said the suspects forced an employee to go into the office and open the store safe. They ran after receiving cash.

A short time later, a nearby CVS was robbed. Investigators believe the same two suspects may have been behind the second incident, which happened at the store at South Cobb Drive and Cooper Lake Road in Smyrna.

The suspects are described as black men, both about 6 feet tall with thin builds. They were wearing black clothing and ski masks, and were armed with handguns.

Anyone with information in the robberies is encouraged to call Cobb County Police at 770-499-3945.

Police: Kids left alone at vacant Smyrna apartment

SMYRNA, Ga. -- A Smyrna woman is facing charges of leaving her children home alone inside a vacant apartment.

Athena Baisden was arrested on Friday.

Police officers found her two children at the Ashford 75 apartment complex.

According to the police report, the apartment did not have electricity or running water. There were also exposed nails on the floor and exposed wiring.

The children are now in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services.

Officer back on the job after fatal shooting

SMYRNA, Ga. -- A Cobb County police officer is back on the job more than two months after killing a suspect while trying to serve a warrant.

According to the Marietta Daily Journal, Sgt. Kenneth Owens returned to work at the Smyrna Police Department on Saturday but will be limited to an administrative role.

Back on March 25, Owens opened fire on 23-year-old Nicholas Thomas at a Good Year store at Cumberland Mall.