August 31, 2007

Sharpton Visits Savannah to Support Family of David Willis

The Reverend Al Sharpton went to a Savannah church last night to help raise money for the family of a man shot and killed by police. The funds raised will support 22-year-old David Willis' three children - one of them unborn. Willis, who is Black, was fatally shot Aug. 18 near downtown Savannah after police pulled over the car he was driving, which officers on an anti-robbery taskforce said they considered suspicious because it had no license plates and tinted windows. Willis' girlfriend and their 5-month-old daughter were in the back seat, and two of his friends were in the car, when the shooting occurred at about 3:40 a.m. No one else was injured. Willis' family didn't speak at the event, but they believe the shooting was not justified.

Sharpton has never met Willis before but feels this is a fight he and the rest of the community need to be involved in. Before he entered the church he took time to explain why he was here, saying this case is suspicious to him. "The fact that this man's child was in the car, the fact that he was unarmed, the fact that you can even suggest that in the presence of his baby he'd be doing something illegal. It's like we're always guilty until proven innocent," said Sharpton.

Over 300 people listened to strong words from Reverend Al Sharpton:

"Maybe we are beginning around this country are beginning to wake up, and realize that a lot of things we thought had changed had not changed. Seems like you follow the rule book and you go by the training on one side of town and you shoot first and ask questions later on our side of town."
Organizers of the fundraiser say the event isn't meant to point fingers - but to provide a future for Willis' three children. "I'm not here to be the police and jury. I wasn't there, but I tell you I want to help the family, I want to help those children," says Reverend Michael Lewis of the Second St. John Baptist Church. "We are here tonight to raise some funds, and raise the consciousness of people, and from the looks of it, it's been raised, cause people are here," Lewis adds. In addition to the monies raised Thursday, a college fund for Willis' children has been set up at Carver State Bank in Savannah.

But Sharpton has a broader message for this crowd:

"If someone commits a crime, they need to be arrested and tried by the courts, and not tried in the streets. We must respect police, and uphold them, but they must respect the law. Otherwise we have the right to question that, and I'm here to be part of that. "

Villagers, what say u?


James said...

Rev. Sharpton is a hero of mine and he will generate attention to this, yet another young black man shot by the police.I am even more perplexed by the out rage in this same state, over dog fighting.The danger for my sons and other young black men face when in the presence of police, is an issue we all need to be outraged about!!

Villager said...

Jim - Amen. All of us with Black sons need to share with them some serious tips on dealing with law enforcement. I like what Sharpton said about a criminal deserves to be prosecuted ... not shot.

Thanx for visiting.

peace, Villager

Paula D. said...

This makes me so sad! I wory about my young beautiful black nephews in this crazy world.

Villager said...

Paula - After we get over being sad ... we have to take steps to learn from our mistakes. We have to stop allowing history to repeat itself when it comes to our interactions with the po-po. For now, we need to see how the investigation of this police shooting in Savannah turns out.

Anyhow, thanks for the visit to the Village!

peace, Villager

Rosemarie said...

"Willis' girlfriend and their 5-month-old daughter were in the back seat, and two of his friends were in the car, when the shooting occurred at about 3:40 a.m."

Am I goin' out on a limb here?! Everyone should be home at 3:40 a.m especially the baby!

Rosemarie said...

PS In my previous comment, I was trying bring to surface what I read. Nevertheless, I don't condone killing of folk in perceived suspicious scenarios.

Villager said...

Rosemarie - I agree with you. Nothing good happens after 3am in the morning. No excuse for getting shot by the police ... but, we must make better decisions ... especially as parents.

peace, Villager