Former officer Sherry Hall was convicted of 11 criminal charges, including making false statements, violating her oath and tampering with evidence
Hall, 43, White cop from Jackson, Ga., was jailed for 15 years for claiming a Black man shot her in an incident that sparked nights of civil unrest across Georgia
On Sept 13, 2016, Hall claimed that a 6ft, 230lbs Black man wearing a green shirt and black jogging pants had fired a gun at her
Her description of the alleged assailant led to the arrest of an innocent man, who matched the description of the perp who left a bullet in her protective vest
Her report was later proven to be a complete fabrication
In addition to the 15 years, Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson also handed Hall 23 years of probation
Hall is currently serving time in the Arrendale State Prison but her attorney, Jordan Van Matre, is seeking a re-trial
She earlier passed up the opportunity to take a plea deal that would have had her serve just five years for her crimes
A Georgia police officer who created tension across the state and potential civil unrest in 2016, when she falsely claimed that she had been shot at by a Black man has been sentenced 15 years in a state prison for a number of charges connected to the incident.
Officer Sherry Hall was convicted of 11 criminal charges, including making false statements, violating her oath and tampering with evidence.
In addition to the 15 year prison sentence, the 43-year-old former Jackson police officer was given, Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson also gave her 23 years of probation.
On September 13, 2016, Hall claimed that a 6ft, 230lbs Black man wearing a green shirt and black jogging pants had shot at her. A bullet was found in her protective vest.
The alleged shooting came right after a number of shootings of law enforcement personnel said to have been in retaliation to the numerous police killings of black folk.
But Hall’s own recollection of the night led to her eventual downfall after a jury voted for her conviction.
Sherry Hall claimed that a 6ft, 230lbs Black man wearing a green shirt and black jogging pants had shot at her on Sept 13, 2016. A bullet was found in her protective vest, but her account was later proven to be a fabrication
Initially, Halls’ claim that she was shot led to a countywide manhunt, and a man who resembled Hall’s description of her assailant was brought in for questioning. But an investigation quickly revealed that Hall’s account of events was an outright lie.
According to the complaint, Hall didn’t realize that her squad car’s video system was operating even though she’d failed to turn on the blue lights, Assistant District Attorney James Moss said.
In the audio from that recording, you can hear only two shots being fired, not three [as she had stated], he said.Three shell casings were found at the scene: two near the patrol car and one in the woods where Hall said her shooter had been.
As expected, the two casings near the car matched the gun Hall was carrying that night. But the one found in the woods matched a department-issued backup firearm that Hall kept in her nightstand, Moss said. And that gun’s firing pin, which would help further identify a bullet shot from the gun, had been tampered with.
No one has been able to say exactly what happened and how the bullet became lodged in her vest.
During her trial, Assistant District Attorney James Moss showed that Hall’s squad car video system picked up audio from the night. The audio revealed that only two shots were fired and not three.
The two casings found near the car matched Hall’s gun from the night. However, the third casing that was found in the woods matched a firearm that the officer kept in her nightstand. Moss noted that this gun was a department-issued handgun.
She did a great job for us, up until that night’ – Jackson Police Chief James Morgan
Following Hall’s initial report, the Jackson police department went on a massive manhunt in hopes of finding a suspect.
A man who resembled Hall’s description was brought in for questioning but eventually released.
‘We didn’t need an uprising,’ Morgan added. ‘We didn’t want any racial tensions. This put a dim view on our department. But we rebounded. It defused pretty quickly.’
Hall is currently serving time in the Arrendale State Prison but lawyer, Jordan Van Matre, is working to get a new trial for his client.
The officer passed up the opportunity to take a plea deal that would have had her serve just five years for her crimes.
Disgraced officer, Sherry Hall is currently serving time in the Arrendale State Prison, [photo], but her attorney is working to get a new trial for Hall
‘She’s scared to death of prison,’ the woman’s brother, Steve Weaver, said. ‘She wanted to take a plea, but not one that included prison time. She thought spending 90 days in jail before posting bond was enough.’
Hall’s family found it surprising that the officer was given such a harsh punishment for her part in endangering the community she was supposed to protect.
‘She definitely didn’t get treated fairly,’ her brother asserted.
‘As her brother, obviously it’s hard for me to admit she’s guilty. But if she is guilty, the sentence she received was especially harsh. We hope to seek a sentence reduction in the near future. I mean, this was a nonviolent crime.’
Hall had claimed that when she pulled into Camilla Court she put her car spotlight on the man. Realizing she was shout, she claimed to have fired two rounds where the gunfire had allegedly come from.
Officer Sherry Hall passed up the opportunity to take a plea deal that would have had her serve just five years for her crimes, She ended up bagging 15 years at sentencing
Hall passed up the opportunity to take a plea deal that would have had her serve just five years for her crimes
Significantly Hall’s fabricated story came during a particular tense time in police community relations with black people, across America, in 2016.
That summer with news of officer-involved shootings of unarmed black men dominating the headlines, protests broke out across the country, police feared retaliation, especially after a gunman, Micah Xavier, killed five officers during a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Shortly after her alleged “shooting,” Hall juiced up the story, appearing on a local CBS affiliate to talk about her harrowing ordeal and stoked fear in the Jackson community.
“For him to have such a disregard to human life really angers me and upsets me,” she said.
“If he’ll do this to an officer, how much more will he do to a citizen on the street.”
At the time, police were still combing the county for a possible suspect.
Commenting on the folly of turning down the plea deal, her brother Steve Weaver said: “She’s scared to death of prison,” Weaver said. “She wanted to take a plea, but not one that included prison time. She thought spending 90 days in jail before posting bond was enough.
Speaking to AJC, Weaver said he hopes to get the sentence reduced because it’s a “nonviolent crime,” he told the AJC.
Commenting on the baffling attempt at incitement ADA Moss noted that Hall gave inconsistent descriptions of the shooter: ‘It was dumbfounding that she went to trial. She never took responsibility. She invented out of whole cloth a Black man who shot her, and if law enforcement hadn’t done their jobs right, we could have had a gentleman wrongly charged with a crime.’
Moss further stated that he had been unable to find a motive for Hall’s actions. It was speculated that she was trying to get more respect from her department but also that she sought disability payments for post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘I couldn’t prove what the motive was,’ Moss stated. ‘But I could prove that what she said was a big bucket full of malarkey.’
The Assistant DA said that it was ‘certainly’ a ‘factor’ that the current climate with police shootings helped aid in the harsh sentencing.
Hall’s attorney during the trial, Kimberly Berry, argued that the woman suffered from emotional distress when the incident took place.
‘The day after, she checked herself into a facility for mental health treatment,’ Berry said. ‘She was basically having a nervous breakdown.’
‘I think Sherry, to this day, doesn’t know exactly what happened,’ Berry said.