Mary Fallen is a mother on a mission to rid Augusta of the Gordon Highway nightclub where her son was mortally wounded March 10.
Phillip “Rashad” Boynton, 28, had entered Pure Platinum Sports Bar & Grill wearing a T-shirt commemorating the lives of two other young men whose lives were cut short by violence. Fallen said the trouble started there as young men from nearby Barton Village neighborhood started hassling him about the shirt.
Richmond County sheriff’s deputies, hired to police the 2064 Gordon Highway club that evening, said an altercation between Boynton, who was ejected from the club, and Artifeyo Sharpton caused the head injuries that led to Boynton’s death March 18.
Sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew said Friday that the sheriff’s office determined that Sharpton acted alone and in self-defense outside the club when he caused Boyton’s injuries and that the district attorney’s office agreed.
The finding isn’t enough for Fallen, who has appeared, along with her two daughters, before the Augusta Commission to ask that the club be shut down. A commission committee voted last week to allow Pure Platinum to remain open as a nightclub for a six-month probationary period, but the matter goes before the full commission Tuesday.
Q: Why are you speaking out about Pure Platinum?
A: “A person with a closed mouth won’t get fed, and I need to get fed. That’s why my mouth is opening up. A lot of it was just kept hush-hush.”
Q: What do you think happened on the morning of March 10?
A: “There was a couple of guys who’d been killed … he had on a T-shirt with them on it. The other boy who got killed, he got killed in Barton Village. So they started to mess with him about the T-shirt, then the altercation started from there. The police officer threw him out on the ground. As (a witness) was picking up my son’s belongings he seen some guys standing over my son kicking him … We know it was more than one person. … But I know it was about that shirt. It was in the Barton Village area. One of the guys said yeah, we killed of them (racial slurs) on your shirt.”
Q: What was your son like?
A: “He has been in jail for drugs, but not no violence. He had been to Augusta Tech for over a year. He died March 18; graduation was May 2. He said, ‘Mama you ain’t got to worry about nothing. I’m going to take care of you.’ I was so proud of him... He was an organ donor. His heart, liver and kidneys saved the lives of four people.”
Q: What is the root of the problem?
A: “The cops didn’t do their job. They can’t tell me they did. If they did, it wouldn’t have went the way it went. I believe if you’re on somebody’s property, they’re putting you out the club, they should escort you all the way out the property. There’s just too much going on and they wasn’t paying attention, and they’re buddies or whatever. …Threw him to the wolves to get killed, that’s what I think.”
Q: How can Augusta stop the violence?
A: “We got a lot of this gang out here. They want to turn their heads and don’t realize, even though my son wasn’t in a gang, out that way there’s a lot of gangs. I don’t know nothing about the gangs but I know he’s not in one. It’s going on but they’re just turning their backs on it.”