Wednesday, April 18, 2007
On yesterday we reflected on the great and tragic loss of 34 people at Virginia Tech University. But the night before the tragedy, actually Sunday morning, two young black men were gunned down by Atlanta police- both unarmed- one shot in the head, the other in the back.
AFROSPHERE ACTION ALERT - Two Blacks, Ron and Roy Pettaway, Shot from Behind by Fulton County GA Police! One Killed. Please call relevant officials and ask for statement for publication at your Afrosphere blog. Names and phone numbers provided.
Police shooting sparks outrage:
Family says men were not armed
By Eric Stirgus
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/16/07
… A 26-year-old man shot and killed outside a bar Sunday by Fulton County police accused officers of excessive force… "They murdered my son," Roy Pettaway Jr. said Sunday regarding the death of his son, Ron.
Fulton County police Cpl. Gary Syblis declined to address the allegations, but said Ron Pettaway and his brother, Roy Pettaway III, 27, also wounded in the shootout, got into an altercation with officers when they arrived to break up a fight at the Frozen Palace at 2395 Flat Shoals Road near College Park.
Family members and supporters said the brothers were unarmed. Police declined to say whether the men were unarmed, adding that they are in the early stages of an investigation into the shooting.
"[Roy] saw his brother with his hands behind his back before any shooting happened," the Rev. Markel Hutchins, a family spokesman, said late Sunday outside the bar at a news conference.
Hutchins, a spokesman for the family of Kathryn Johnston, the elderly Atlanta woman gunned down by Atlanta police last November in a controversial police raid, compared the shootings of the Pettaway brothers to other recent cases of alleged excessive force by police.
"Across this country, young black and brown men are losing their lives at the hands of police officers and we are drawing a line in the sand," he said.
The Pettaway brothers are African-American.
Syblis said the officers involved were placed on administrative leave until the department completed its investigation into the shooting.
Sunday's incident began at 1:32 a.m., Syblis said. The shootings took place on the sidewalk outside the bar with one officer shooting one of the brothers and another officer wounding the other brother, the police spokesman said.
A woman who was at the club said the brothers had gotten into a fight with a group of men. The officers arrived and took Ron Pettaway outside, while the other brother was paying the bartender, said Stephanie Richardson, 32, of Atlanta.
Richardson said she and other club-goers could see through the open doors what was going on outside. "They were just talking," Richardson said. "I didn't see any altercation and nothing like that."
Then, Richardson said, "not even 10 seconds later, we heard gunshots. Six or seven." Ron was shot in the head, the Fulton County medical examiner's office said. Roy Pettaway III was wounded in the back, family members said.
Outside, they found one of the officers standing over Ron Pettaway, who had been shot in the head… Roy Pettaway was on the ground a little ways off, she said.
"Everybody who was there didn't agree with what the police were saying, that they resisted arrest," Richardson said. "So they didn't take any statements."
Gerald Rose, founder of the New Order National Human Rights Organization, said his group also is planning to go to Fulton County police headquarters today to get more details about the shooting. The organization has protested the 12 shootings last year by DeKalb County police. The U.S. Justice Department and a special DeKalb County grand jury are investigating those shootings.
"We just need some answers," Rose said.
Roy Pettaway Jr., a sergeant in the U.S. Army, said he has many questions.
"How do you shoot two people with no weapons?" the dead man's father asked. "It speaks for itself. I want the officer that killed my son charged with a crime."
Hank Klibanoff -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Title: Managing Editor - News
Phone: (404) 526-5151
Fax: (404) 526-5610
Address: 72 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303-
THEY MURDER MY SON IN GEORGIA-
“They murdered my son”, the old black man said. They murdered my son in Georgia. In November, Atlanta police shot an elderly black woman to death. She thought that someone was breaking into her house, so she retrieved a gun for protection, and got shot dead for her effort. This was a drug bust gone astray.
Yet, we have not heard much editorial condemnation over the Sunday morning shooting of two unarmed young black men by Fulton County police.
I know, as a black father, I would have warned my son not to go into the hell’s den, especially after midnight. Like my father taught me in the 1950s: There’s nothing on the streets past midnight except dogs and fools.
So, what did the police do, shoot a fool down like a dog?
Wake up Georgia newspapers! Is the State of Georgia going forward or going back into denial? The African-American Online Network, known as the Afrosphere, must ask the major newspapers and mass media, why they have not come out with editorials condemning this shooting. What justification can there be in not speaking out?
Eddie G. Griffin (BASG)