Montgomery police officer requests change of venue for murder trial

Updated: Dec. 6, 2016 at 5:04 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Attorneys for Aaron Smith, the Montgomery police officer indicted on a murder charge in the shooting death of Montgomery resident Gregory Gunn, has filed a motion for a change of venue, according to court documents.

Court documents show the motion, filed on Friday, requests that Smith's trial be moved to another county in Alabama to ensure that he receives a fair trial and impartial jury.

Smith's attorneys believe the Montgomery County community has been "infested" with racial prejudice and hatred towards Smith, according to the motion.

The motion claims media coverage has caused the case to be "entangled with racial undertones by citizens and political figures within the county."

The motion also states that not only has media coverage affected the case, but the way city officials handled the situation from the beginning has also affected it. It specifically states that Smith "is the first and only Montgomery Police Officer ever to be arrested and charged immediately after an officer-involved shooting."

Included in the motion are headlines from the media and statements made by members of the community, including the request that white police officers be pulled out of primarily black communities.

"Smith was publicly scrutinized by individuals within the community and political figures, not based on the facts surrounding the incident but rather the color of his skin in comparison to the decedent," the motion states.

You can read the full motion below:

In November, a Montgomery County grand jury found probable cause to indict Smith on a charge of murder.

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