Today, the charges against Tamika Pledger, a Unified Government candidate, were increased to involuntary manslaughter and three counts of reckless aggravated battery.
If she wins elected office and is convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Pledger would face an action by District Attorney Jerome Gorman to remove her from office, the district attorney confirmed today.
Pledger is a Unified Government 1st District at-large commission candidate in the spring elections who was involved in an accident Jan. 30 at 13th and Troup that injured four teens. On Friday, Feb. 6, one of the teens, Tierra Smith, died from her injuries.
Pledger, as someone who is charged with a crime but not convicted, is not prevented from running for office, Gorman said. But if Pledger wins office and is convicted, Gorman confirmed today that his office would take steps to remove her from office. Officeholders are ineligible to hold office once they have a felony conviction, he said. Pledger, a community activist, had filed for office before the accident occurred.
Recently, there has been an indication that Pledger may intend to continue her campaign for office, as a “Go Fund Me” website was started for Pledger’s legal bills and her campaign expenses at http://www.gofundme.com/lrp4u0.
Today, a judge also ordered that Pledger can have no contact with victims or witnesses in this case, and that includes use of social media, Gorman said. The district attorney’s office played a telephone recording in court that was used to support this order.
At this time, there have not been charges filed against the youth in the fight. Gorman said that authorities are still waiting for the complete investigation to be finished before determining whether anyone else might face charges in connection with this case. An investigation is also still continuing about any possible mechanical problems involving the vehicle.
There are a number of factors that are contributing to this case, he added. There was enough evidence from everything authorities have learned to charge Pledger, he said. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
There has been an online fundraising effort for the funeral expenses of Tierra, the teen who was killed in the car accident. (https://fundly.com/tiera-smith-memorial?ft_src=email_share_mobile)
Last Friday, the day that Tierra died, Commissioner Tarence Maddox took to Facebook where he urged youth to stop fighting.
“I’m pleading with you because I’m tired of going to funerals,” Maddox said in the video.