Georgia police officer Antwan Toney was honored in many ways after he was killed in the line of duty last month.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil. People lined the streets as his funeral procession drove by.
But this latest honor might be the most unusual and unexpected: a tribute from jail inmates.
It came in the form of a letter from the Gwinnett County jail in suburban Atlanta. The inmates offered condolences to Toney’s family and the department he worked for, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. The letter was addressed to Sheriff Butch Conway.
“This was a tragic incident that never should have occurred. And though law enforcement and criminals may be considered opposites, the intrinsic value of a human life transcends those boundaries by far,” read the letter, which appears to have been signed by at least 20 inmates. The inmates’ names were redacted. “Right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter the color uniform.”
The sheriff’s office said it released the letter Saturday on Facebook because it was “deeply appreciative of this act of kindness from these men.”
The inmates also honored all police officers, first responders and military personnel.
“Your service and sacrifice make the world a better place for all,” they wrote.
Officer had just celebrated a birthday
Toney was shot and killed last month while answering a call with another officer about a suspicious car. He was shot at from inside the vehicle as he approached the car in a middle school parking lot. He was hit once. The other officer returned fire and dragged away Toney, who died at a hospital. He had just turned 30 years old.
Tafahree Maynard, the 18-year-old suspect, was shot and killed by police a few days later as they closed in on him.
Toney, who was originally from Southern California, had been with the department for almost three years. Before he was an officer, he had been a security guard, police said. He was described by his Gwinnett colleagues as “a very jovial person who was dedicated to his job and dedicated to his community.”