West Point community calling for police resignations after shoot - WRBL

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West Point community calling for police resignations after shooting

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WEST POINT, Ga. -

A West Point-based group is calling for the resignation of the West Point police chief and several of his officers after a man was shot by officers at a police checkpoint. The incident has some residents enraged.

26-year-old Jaquezman McCray was shot by police Sept. 22. The case is now being investigated by the GBI, but West Point and Lanett citizens say they want more to be done.

Wearing bullseyes on his shirt to symbolize that he's a target of police misconduct, Faheem Shabazz, McCray's father, led protesters in chanting "No Justice, No Peace!" during a 1.1 mile protest and march to ask the city for a change in policy.

He admits his son may not have had the best reaction to his initial encounter with police but he doesn't believe it warranted getting shot. "He do admit that he panicked," says Shabazz, "and he went through the road block because of some other issues with his driver's license, but nevertheless we feel that it doesn't justify them using excessive force and shooting him."

Shabazz took to the streets as his son began to recover, asking citizens to rally with him to get the officers involved fired along with their superiors, including Police Chief J. K. Cato.

Local pastor Dr. Randy Kelley showed up to the protest to speak for truth, but he's not taking sides. He says, "We're not going to tolerate police brutality if that's the case, but on the other hand we're concerned about having crime- and drug-free communities for our young people, and so I think we've got to work both sides of the street."

Chief Cato says he has no comment pending the results of the investigation, but Shabazz says this is not the first incident of police brutality.

"We've heard so many complaints from people within the city," says Shabazz, "but the people, for some reason, when they're having to engage with police officers they're reluctant to come forward because of all the things that have been going on over here."

Shabazz says he's been talking with Cato about the case and hopes the protest encourages others to come forward with their own stories.

Patrol cars from the West Point Police Department, Troup County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia State Patrol were all in attendance for the "Unity in the Community Against Police Brutality" protest. One officer said they had to be prepared for anything after comments on social media suggested violence at the rally, but Shabazz insists that's not the goal of his campaign.

The officers involved in the shooting were on administrative leave, but have been cleared to return to full duty.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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