The Phenix City-Russell County NAACP chapter is calling a road rage incident an act of racism after they say a white suspect shot a black victim in the dispute.
“I think the hate began long before it got to Mr. Freeman,” says Phenix City-Russell County NAACP President Alfonza Seldon.
In a news conference Friday, March 16, the civil rights group established a call to action for the Russell County District Attorney. They say they are seeking justice for 45-year-old Lorenzo Freeman.
The incident happened January 11.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor says two cars were driving from Columbus to Fort Mitchell. He says he believes the drivers thought each was following the other. He says the cars then pulled over and both parties began arguing. The dispute escalated and the shooting happened in the Fort Mitchell Dollar General parking lot.
The NAACP says witness accounts claim Davidson was yelling racial slurs at Freeman before firing shots. They say this qualifies the murder as a hate crime, and they believe racial motivations are what escalated the argument.
“We wouldn’t be talking about racial hate crimes, we would just be talking about two people in the street got mad at each other and did what they did, but by it being black and white, and the alleged suspect was yelling racial slurs, hey, I mean it’s cut and dry,” says Seldon.
The Russell County Sheriff’s Office arrested Davidson and charged him with murder following the case.
The NAACP is looking to tack hate crime charges onto the existing charge. They want to send the message that racism is not OK.
“Nothing nobody can do to bring this son’s father back, to bring this wife’s husband back, but we can make a statement to this generation and generations beyond that Phenix City, Russell County is a place where somebody can come and live, no matter what your skin color is,” Seldon says.
The NAACP says they will follow this case to completion, and say they’ll bring in National if deemed necessary, as they say they want to see to it that justice is served.