‘Overreaching Prosecution’: Jury Acquits Georgia Man Charged for the Murder of His Cousin Who Was Executed By Police During Early Morning Drug Raid Gone Awry

A jury found Varshaun Brown not guilty of the murder of his cousin — a 37-year-old who was fatally shot during a drug raid conducted at his home by Georgia authorities a few years ago.

In the early hours of May 4, 2021, Camden County deputies used a battering ram to burst into Brown’s Woodbine, Georgia, residence to execute a search warrant. Once inside, gunfire ensued, leading to the occupants getting shot and, ultimately, Latoya James’ death. She had no connection to the warrant that was carried out that morning, and according to news reports, she was sleeping when it happened.

Varshaun Brown Was Found Not Guilty Of Latoya James' Killing
Varshaun Brown was found not guilty of the murder of his cousin Latoya James. She was fatally shot during a 2021 drug raid at Brown’s home. (News4Jax/First Coast News/YouTube)

Her family compared her death to the death of Breonna Taylor, an essential worker who was fatally shot by police officers in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment in 2020. Her death, along with those of other Black people killed at the hands of law enforcement, sparked global protests against racism and police brutality.

Related: ‘I Couldn’t Recognize Her’: Family of Model Found Dead In Downtown Los Angeles Says She Was Discovered with Leg Up In ‘Gruesome’ Scene Days After Telling Friends That She Was Going on Date

Bodycam footage shows deputies quickly walk onto Brown’s property and yell, “Sheriff’s Office. Search warrant. Come to the door.” Moments after they entered, multiple shots rang out. Throughout the video, one of the deputies’ shields is obstructing the view inside the home. Authorities argued that Brown started the shooting. As First Coast News reported, in court, prosecutors said that James would be alive if Brown hadn’t shot at the deputies.


Last year, James’ family filed a $25 million federal lawsuit against Camden County deputy sheriff Jim Procter and the other deputies linked to the incident. It alleges that deputies gave unarmed James merely 2.5 seconds “to answer or come to the door before they breached the door and killed her.” Per the lawsuit, James was struck in the back and the shoulder by the deputies.

James’ attorneys released a statement on Thursday, Sept. 14, championing the jury’s decision.

“Today, the jury made it absolutely clear that Varshaun Brown is not responsible for Latoya James’ death, and there was only one other group shooting,” the statement said. “Furthermore, we are confident that the other convictions and this draconian sentence will be overturned on appeal. “

According to Action News Jax, Brown was found guilty of assaulting a public safety officer and a drug-related charge.

“The simple fact is that the Camden County Sheriff’s Department gunned Latoya James down in cold blood, and they’ve been doing everything they could since to distract people from that fact,” the attorneys continued. “This overreaching prosecution was their last chance, and there’s nowhere else to turn. “