Residents' anger boils at police

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Supporters of Justin Elmore say it doesn't matter if he has a lengthy criminal record or what he might have done to provoke sheriff's deputies Sunday -- they still had no right to shoot him.

"They gonna kill everybody with a record?" said Sha'keela McNair, 22, who identified herself as Mr. Elmore's girlfriend. "They shot him for nothing. He didn't have no gun."

After an accidental fire broke out at an apartment and once again drew police and fire trucks into the housing project Monday, angry residents of Cherry Tree Crossing and surrounding neighborhoods gathered at the place where Mr. Elmore's SUV came to a stop near 15th Street and Carver Drive. It wasn't far from where a throng of people had hurled bottles and rocks at police cars in the hours after the shooting.

"This ain't nothing," Cruz Sharpton, 22, said of the bedlam. "It's just beginning."

It was a sentiment echoed by several people.

They said they don't trust the police, and they're fed up with what they perceive as harassment, racial profiling and a cavalier attitude toward the poor and powerless.

"You've got to figure, these people are close," said Frank Thomas, the executive director of the Augusta-Richmond County Human Relations Commission. "That's their area. Sometimes they don't trust the police, and the police have their job to do."

Friends of Mr. Elmore said he goes by Jed, is a construction worker and has three children -- a 2-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 1 and 6 months.

Ms. McNair said he was shot in his head and chest, and his mother is keeping vigil at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

"I put (the police) at fault for everything that happened," said Ashley Brown, 22, who lives in an apartment near the spot where police cars boxed in Mr. Elmore's SUV on Sunday before the shooting erupted. "They should have done the pursuit better than that."

A few doors down, Tavares Green is still furious, too.

During the shooting, two bullets went into his girlfriend's apartment, whizzing within inches of his 8-month-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

Mr. Green showed a reporter the bullet holes in a glass window and a wood front door, and where they lodged in a Sheetrock wall and hit a stereo speaker.

"They could have shot her in the back," said Mr. Green, a city employee in the roads and bridges division. "My little boy's head could have been bust open."

Mr. Thomas said he was unsure what position the Human Relations Commission will take on the matter.

The city cut the commission from next year's budget, and he's working to close all pending cases so the office can be shut down by the end of February.

Otherwise, he would be involved, Mr. Thomas said, helping to "sift through the smoke" and find out whether police overstepped their bounds.

After the 1998 killing of Alfaigo Davis, a similar incident in which police shot a man they said was trying to run them over, Mr. Thomas called for a police review board, which was rejected by Sheriff Charlie Webster. The two officers were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Had the review board not been rejected, it might have built up credibility by now and could come in handy, Mr. Thomas said.

"People become emotional when things like that happen," he said. "Maybe they need some help. Maybe they need some kind of counseling."

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

CHERRY TREE CROSSING

With 389 apartments and 1,018 residents, Cherry Tree Crossing is the city's largest public housing project, one of 13 federally funded developments providing affordable housing to low-income families and elderly residents. The average household income in Cherry Tree Crossing is $7,917. Apartments there range from one to five bedrooms.

Cherry Tree was formed through the merging of two developments, Sunset Homes and Sunset Homes Extension, constructed in 1940 and 1952. After renovations in the early 1990s, the two parts were renamed Cherry Tree Crossing and Cherry Tree Crossing Extension. They were merged into a single project last year.

The section along Carver Drive, where the shooting occurred Sunday, is part of the newer section constructed in 1952.

For about $600,000 per year, the Augusta Housing Authority contracts with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office to provide 15 extra deputies to patrol housing projects.

The deputies involved in the shooting were part of "housing patrol."

BREAKDOWN OF CHERRY TREE RESIDENTS BY AGE

0-6 years old 301

7-18 years old 302

19 and older 415

BREAKDOWN OF RESIDENTS BY RACE

Black 1,006

White 11

Other 1

Source: Augusta Housing Authority Director of Resident Services Buddy Oldfield

RELATED STORIES

- Sheriff defends deputies

- Residents' anger boils at police

- Shooting recalls 1998 case

PREVIOUS STORIES

- Shooting triggers chaos

- Deputies use caution


Comments (183) Add comment
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sctex
1
Points
sctex 12/16/08 - 03:17 am
0
0
I hope these people can get

I hope these people can get out of that dump and create a better life for themselves.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 12/16/08 - 03:53 am
0
0
When will the historically

When will the historically lax disciplinary policies of local boards of education and the disrespect for legitimate authority which this lassitude has engendered express themselves in civil disruption on a scale only hinted at in the recent troubles at Cherry Tree Crossing? Will every prudent person say, "Concealed weapons permit!"

lurker
1
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lurker 12/16/08 - 04:15 am
0
0
It does'nt matter, a gun or a

It does'nt matter, a gun or a SUV running from police, there is no dfference. Both are equally capable of killing. Mr. Elmore showed a total disregard for his own life much less innocent bystanders. I bet the residents would be singing a different tune had he run over a child or would they blame the police for that also?

ONLY THE TRUTH
2
Points
ONLY THE TRUTH 12/16/08 - 04:20 am
0
0
The victim here is the

The victim here is the law-abiding citizens paying for his state-of-the-art healthcare trying to save this felon's life. If we are lucky he wont live to spawn more of his kind!!

lurker
1
Points
lurker 12/16/08 - 04:51 am
0
0
" What we have here is a

" What we have here is a failure to communicate ... "

wizzardx1
0
Points
wizzardx1 12/16/08 - 05:47 am
0
0
Maybe the police should just

Maybe the police should just stay away from Cherry Tree for a month or two and let all those law abiding citizens fend for themselves. When there are only 5 or 10 people left alive,after the "gangstas" finish shooting each other and anyone else that may be in range, maybe, just maybe, those few that survive, will want law and order restored

SMHwhatamessthisis
0
Points
SMHwhatamessthisis 12/16/08 - 05:50 am
0
0
you people think so stupid on

you people think so stupid on here what if it was your child the police shot i don't think you would be talking this way..i have seen these officers act out before if he get from behind that desk he will see how officer act and curse like they have no rules..to these people living in the projects i can not judge you guys and i wont..but i will tell you guys one thing start recording the min you see the police ride thru and let them see ya'll are recording everything i bet it will cut down on that mess they do and say they not doing it then air it out on tv i mean record everything. that way these dumb people will stop the judgement like police don't do no wrong.

wizzardx1
0
Points
wizzardx1 12/16/08 - 06:11 am
0
0
If my child was out stealing

If my child was out stealing cars, selling drugs,and trying to run police down, he had better hope the police catch him before I do.

sctex
1
Points
sctex 12/16/08 - 06:27 am
0
0
I guess it's all whitey's

I guess it's all whitey's fault.

patriciathomas
43
Points
patriciathomas 12/16/08 - 06:31 am
0
0
Interview, finger print and

Interview, finger print and blood test each person wishing to have government subsidy. Put all of the Justin Elmore types, and his supporters in a more secure facility and the law abiding types in a different facility than the hoodlums. That way, if a stray bullet hits someone, it won't be an innocent victim.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 12/16/08 - 06:39 am
0
0
I strongly disagree with the

I strongly disagree with the first paragraph of this article. I do believe that police shootings can be justified when provoked and threatening the safety of an officer and even others. What I don't understand and can't begin to rationalize is the community outrage. At least once a week there are news reports of shootings, whether domestic, gang, drug or even random. Where are the protesters? Where is the outrage? Why are the law abiding citizens of these small communities most heavily impacted by these crimes not banning together or better yet throwing bottles and rocks at the street level drug dealers that line the streets at night? Why are they not harrassing the young gang members that aimlessly walk the streets at night looking for trouble. You know who they are. You see them everyday. They don't make you angry but the police attempting to protect and serve the community do? Maybe if people work to clean up their own neighborhoods, police their own children then the city won't have to.

Nammy
2
Points
Nammy 12/16/08 - 06:42 am
0
0
No, it's Bush's fault...or so

No, it's Bush's fault...or so they'll say....lol.

ONLY THE TRUTH
2
Points
ONLY THE TRUTH 12/16/08 - 06:45 am
0
0
SMH--How can people living

SMH--How can people living off the government afford video recorders to record the cops??? Oh thats right Elmore probably stole them for the neighborhood and thats why they are mad. He got shot trying to steal something else. What a shame.

shel2u
0
Points
shel2u 12/16/08 - 07:01 am
0
0
I wonder if there will be a

I wonder if there will be a correction in the paper if the GBI finds that the bullet holes were a result of civilian firearms and NOT the deputies'.

iluvme
0
Points
iluvme 12/16/08 - 07:12 am
0
0
wizzardx1....black folks have

wizzardx1....black folks have been fending for themselves for years...that will be nothing new. However, I am glad that they finally put the story about the bullet going through the window where the baby was. Many people thought I was lying when I said that on another post

ugadawgbite
0
Points
ugadawgbite 12/16/08 - 07:13 am
0
0
Sounds like they need to hand

Sounds like they need to hand out English books and bullet proof vests to the residents in Cherry Tree.

wcr250
71
Points
wcr250 12/16/08 - 07:15 am
0
0
Put a 12 foot fence around

Put a 12 foot fence around this zoo(cherry tree) and give them all guns and drugs
the next week there won't be so many of them
They all voted for obama

beenhereawhile
0
Points
beenhereawhile 12/16/08 - 07:30 am
0
0
To find out the real story of

To find out the real story of life in these areas just talk to the postman assigned to the area. I have been personally told by a former resident of Cherry Tree that if the government checks were late during the month, the postman was at fault and it would be taken out on him. Police officers and postal workers aren't paid enough to enter this war zone. I've seen it happen too many times. The residents will complain and report on each other, authorities show up and the residents join forces with the criminal and "gang" up on the ones there to help. Let them help themselves for once in their life.

GACopperhead
6
Points
GACopperhead 12/16/08 - 07:37 am
0
0
This has NOTHING to do with

This has NOTHING to do with Obama, and it's an insult to intelligence. However, trying to run over a policeman, or ram a police car ABSOLUTELY should be viewed as attempted murder of a police officer, and the officer should and DOES have the right to protect himself. Why is there no public outrage at the criminal who attempted this, and caused the police to fire in DEFENSE!!!?? This is not a racial issue,this is a criminal issue! Everyone who attacked the police afterward should be charged with the attacks, AND aiding and abetting a known criminal. Until the residents of CherryTree quit sceaming race, and start fighting to oust the crack dealers from their neighborhood, they can expect that eventually this incident will be repeated, and frankly, they deserve it.

oh bull
0
Points
oh bull 12/16/08 - 07:42 am
0
0
lock the gates and torch the

lock the gates and torch the place

justus4
124
Points
justus4 12/16/08 - 07:43 am
0
0
Who reported the vehicle
Unpublished

Who reported the vehicle stolen? How was it determined to be a stolen vehicle? Gotta get some REAL reporters on this beat.

patriciathomas
43
Points
patriciathomas 12/16/08 - 07:51 am
0
0
goofy justus, the owners

goofy justus, the owners reported the car stolen. The original plates were on the car. Police communicate these things. If the tip came from the hood and Elmore was driving a new SUV, everyone know it be stolen. What we may need is some REAL thinkers that read the stories.

LadyCisback
4
Points
LadyCisback 12/16/08 - 07:54 am
0
0
Actually is the welfare

Actually is the welfare system's fault for giving so much free money to these people without them earning it!!

bsbr032581
0
Points
bsbr032581 12/16/08 - 07:54 am
0
0
The idiots that support that

The idiots that support that criminal are just stupid. There is no other explanation. If they don't want criminals shot at, they need to keep them inside the projects and let everyone fend for themselves. Then they will complain that the police didn't protect them when a thug shoots and kills their innocent bystanding child. I wonder if the residents that were on tv last night running their mouths were embarrassed at how ridiculous they sounded? Probably not, but if I talked like that, I would keep my mouth shut.

shel2u
0
Points
shel2u 12/16/08 - 07:56 am
0
0
It doesn't matter who

It doesn't matter who reported it stolen or how it was reported. If the driver would have stopped and answered questions and all information found to be legitimate, he would have been on his way within 10 minutes. End of story. I am positive that there are thousands of stories to offset this one where the individuals were compliant with the officers and no altercations occurred. It might be a little off-putting but it sure beats laying in ICU with a hole in your head.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 12/16/08 - 08:15 am
0
0
Let us all just stop for a

Let us all just stop for a moment and pretend that we are civilized human beings...The blacks that participated in this riot were wrong in that someone was trying to kill police officers and therefore should be able to do their job(whatever unfortunate results) without crazed individuals bent on mayhem, destruction and possibly some with murder in their own hearts...When an officer of the law is in pursuit of a criminal and then that criminal proceeds to try and kill said officers color is the last thing on their minds...Police Officers, Firefighters as well as Paramedics and EMT's have no color...They are their doing their jobs...What right do these rioters have to try and harm anyone of them? What should be demanded would be those who participated be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?...These actions have been allowed to dictate policy in the handling of these rioting situations due to the rioters race...Policy is to handle them with "kid-gloves" when it should be to arrest all their behinds no matter the race, creed or gender...

Fiat_Lux
18004
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/16/08 - 08:15 am
0
0
Do any of these people

Do any of these people understand what it is to be a law-abiding, self-sufficient adult? Simple self-preservation instincts would inform the dumbest of them that it's never a good idea to threaten the police. I'm releived this foolish criminal was threatening Officers Ortiz and Hodge instead of breaking down my front door or jacking my car. I might not have gotten my gun out fast enough to defend myself like these officers did. I'm glad they're safe and I'm very glad they stopped Elmore. Perhaps his family, friends and supporters will be instructed, even in their pain. It's a great pity he put his friends and neighbors in such danger.

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 12/16/08 - 08:21 am
0
0
This sounds like the 70s,

This sounds like the 70s, Looks for the Black Panthers.

I4PUTT
5
Points
I4PUTT 12/16/08 - 08:25 am
0
0
I feel sure that the

I feel sure that the residents of Cherry Crossing are correct about one thing. They most likely are treated differently by police officers. Officers who are made to feel intimidated and fearful for their life most likely react differently. Since this is percieved to be a common occurence in this neighborhood, we have to question why. Is it simply that all police officers in RC simply hate the follks in this neighborhood or could there be some other reason. Logic tells me there is another reason. It truly makes no sense that all RC police officers, black or white, financially secure or poor, educated or not, bigoted or not, from that area of town or not.....all have this same disregard for the safety & fair treatment of residents of this area. Just doesn't pass the smell test. I think there should be a policy at the RCSO that states when officers are made to feel unsafe by crowds at the scene while trying to do their job, they should be allowed to use water cannons at the very least. Cars should be equipped with video and arrests should be made of anyone breaking the law on that tape. Those arrested should be required to make restitution for any damages done by the mob.

pah4r
0
Points
pah4r 12/16/08 - 08:29 am
0
0
Yeah folks, it is always the

Yeah folks, it is always the police fault. Never mind the thugs killing us and each other for a few bucks or just for kicks and then thumbing their noses at our limp wrissted justice system when they may be caught. After all they are only expresing themselves and have the right to continue to take from others and not have to fend/earn for themselves. We all know it could never be the perps fault if/when they may get shot in their pursuit of wrongdoing. GET A LIFE already people. Thugs earn and deserve whatever civilized society deems necessary toward them in order for the law abiding citizens to continue living and hopefully having some safety from these oxygen stealers.

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