ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The Fulton County District Attorney and Atlanta Police Department are in an uproar after a judge granted an alleged gang member a bond. The suspect is a local rap artist who shot an Atlanta police officer multiple times in February. Officials shared why they are drawing attention to the case.
Fulton County DA Fani Willis and APD are sounding the alarm on the judge’s decision to grant bond to alleged gang member Christian Eppinger. “A judge here decided to grant him a bond over the opposition of the state,” said Willis. “It is something that has upset my law enforcement partners, and also me, as the district attorney.”
Authorities accuse him of shooting Officer David Rodgers. “He shot him six times. That was when they were trying to execute the warrant for the behavior that he did,” Willis said. “He really attempted to assassinate him. Just by the grace of God, did he live,” she said.
APD Chief Rodney Bryant said Rodgers is still recovering and in good spirits.
The shooting occurred on February 7, 2022 at the Colonial Square Apartments on Old Hapeville Road. Eppinger is reportedly a member of the Young Slime Life street gang, and he’s also known as the rapper Big Bhris.
Officials shared an Instagram post Willis said could have been posted by Eppinger or someone posting on his behalf while he is incarcerated. It indicated, “The judge gave me a bond today. I’ll be home soon.”
“What it shows you is the flagrant kind of finger in your face to the judicial system,” Willis said.
Willis filed an Emergency Motion for Reconsideration of Bond on April 19. During a press conference, she listed Eppinger’s history of violent crimes that started in 2016 when he was 16 years old, as well as crimes he allegedly committed during his probation after he spent four years behind bars.
“We want the Atlanta Police Department and the public to know that we stand with them, that we are against acts of violence and especially those that choose to be in a gang,” said Willis. “We want to make sure that, in my lifetime, he never sees society again.”
“We find it quite appalling that this individual received this level of bond, but we appreciate the actions taken so swiftly by this DA’s office,” said Bryant.
Willis says granting bond was a judicial error, caused in part by an order that allows magistrate judges to set bonds. “I have a problem with the fact that judges that are not elected, that are not superior court judges, would even have the authority right now to even hear cases that involve gangs,” she said.
According to Georgia law, a defendant is entitled to having a bond set if their case is not put before a grand jury for indictment within 90 days after being incarcerated. “Our judges are under pressure to make sure that they do not have people in jail after 90 days,” she added.
Willis says, despite the judge’s decision, Eppinger won’t be getting out of jail, because another judge is expected to revoke his probation. “We quite frankly believe that Judge Schwall, who is the judge hearing the revocation, is likely going to sentence this gentleman to between 50 and 60 years in jail, which is the max that he can get,” she said.
The emergency hearing to reconsider Eppinger’s bond is scheduled for Thursday, April 21 at 5 p.m.