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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christian134
1
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christian134 12/16/08 - 08:37 am
0
0
Policy in my son's Fire

Policy in my son's Fire Department would be to stand back and watch whatever is on fire burn...I personally believe a fire hose turned on the mob would be beneficial...It helps break up a dog or cat fight...If these "people" want to resort to mob mentality then they must be treated as such, crazed animals....All the damages to property should be divided up when the mob leaders are identified...They should be made to make restitution as well as receiving jail time...

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 12/16/08 - 08:40 am
0
0
Seems like the point has been

Seems like the point has been missed here; if you don't want to be shot, don't try to run over the deputies!

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 12/16/08 - 08:45 am
0
0
"They shot him for nothing.

"They shot him for nothing. He didn't have no gun."
Let's see the man was unarmed but he tried to runover the officer so the officer shot and then jumped through his window to escape being hit. I wonder if he was actually hit and killed would it be considered a crime-since a gun wasn't the weapon. I often wondered why we aren't like other animals who compete for natural resource-those who can't compete die. Just think our tax dollars likely help support this useless protoplasm.

amazed1
0
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amazed1 12/16/08 - 08:47 am
0
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I'm sure that Obama would be

I'm sure that Obama would be proud of these voters.

DefeatObamaAndOsama
0
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DefeatObamaAndOsama 12/16/08 - 08:48 am
0
0
CAN YOU SAY Caterpillar

CAN YOU SAY Caterpillar D9???????

mad_max
0
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mad_max 12/16/08 - 08:53 am
0
0
Got no problem with the

Got no problem with the shooting. Little heathens that steal, sell drugs, run and resist arrest deserve to be shot. Don't want to be shot? Don't do those things. And yes, I mean black, white, brown, or yellow. Shoot them all. They are all potential murderers.

openeyes73
0
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openeyes73 12/16/08 - 08:58 am
0
0
I have seen a couple of

I have seen a couple of comments about there being no gun...a car is just as much a deadly weapon as a gun. I say good job guys you did what you had to do to protect your own lives. Funny thing about this whole situation is the very people now condemning these officers are the very ones who wouldn't have a problem calling them if their own lives were in danger. Oh and by the way...how much intelligence does it take to get mad and destroy the very neighborhood you live in. While it may be government housing you still can take pride in your neighborhood not destroy it. After all for now it is the only place you have to lay your head at night. And with the attitude of destroying where you live it looks like you have sentenced yourself to the life your living now...NOT RICHMOND COUNTY DEPUTIES.

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 12/16/08 - 09:12 am
0
0
With the Davis case, they

With the Davis case, they should have sued HIS family for the cost of the bullets it took to bring down this thug.....HE was trying to kill police officers when HE was shot.

I for one am sick and tired of MY tax dollars going to support these low-lifes and pay their bills for life. They get housing, food, healthcare and childcare and yet THEY scream for more. To hell with all of them. You don't work.......you don't eat is the way it should be.

Thug and victim mentality is a huge problem in this country and it's bringing us ALL down.

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 12/16/08 - 09:17 am
0
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Why did this incident happen

Why did this incident happen in the first place? Because a worthless, knuckle-dragging career criminal maggot thug broke the law, tried to injure/kill Law Enforcement officers, and became the well deserved receipient of a couple of rounds. And you want to riot about this? Accept the truth that this was a good shoot, and move on-----OR-------do something stupid and the next newspaper article may just be about you!!!!!!!

rufus
2
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rufus 12/16/08 - 09:20 am
0
0
Self esteem is a big part of

Self esteem is a big part of being able to pull yourself up and make a better life for yourself. As long as the residents are allowed to collect money without earning it they are doomed.

SCGAL53
0
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SCGAL53 12/16/08 - 09:23 am
0
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Sha'keela, is that thug your

Sha'keela, is that thug your babay daddy? Terrible role model.

ripjones
2
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ripjones 12/16/08 - 09:24 am
0
0
Once again, where do I begin?

Once again, where do I begin? Stolen SUV, drugs, guns, doesn't live there, criminal record, tries to run down deputies, do I need to go on? As Sheriff Strength said, there are some good people in the area. Apparently there are alot that are not. People of Cherry Tree -- you live in government housing that you do not pay for -- what gives you the right to burn dumpsters and throw bricks and such at police, fire, and rescue? I read, and heard alot of "boyfriends", "girlfriends", "children", but no "husbands", "wives", "families". It is time for the "good people" of Cherry Tree to clean house, and get the pieces of human excrement out of their neighborhood. Work with, not against deputies. Who has proven that the holes in the wall, were made by police rounds? If the good people don't clean house, when you need fire or emergency medical, you just may be out of luck.

curly123053
4896
Points
curly123053 12/16/08 - 09:25 am
0
0
I think the folks were

I think the folks were rioting because their supply of drugs and guns got stopped by the RCSO.
As far as the suspect not having a gun, his vehicle became his weapon when he started ramming police cars. He opened himself up to being shot by making his vehicle his weapon.

SCGAL53
0
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SCGAL53 12/16/08 - 09:26 am
0
0
Maybe if Cherry Tree kept

Maybe if Cherry Tree kept their nose clean the cops wouldn't need to be called.

Hepkikyo
0
Points
Hepkikyo 12/16/08 - 09:26 am
0
0
When I was a teenager, I

When I was a teenager, I didn't much like the police either. That's because I was mostly living on the wrong side of the law. My how times have changed. All you folks who are upset that the police are fighting crime should take a good hard look at yourselves, or just get used to looking over your shoulders. The more you wine, the more you draw attention to yourselves and your wicked ways.

SCGAL53
0
Points
SCGAL53 12/16/08 - 09:28 am
0
0
The "NEW" Black Panthers are

The "NEW" Black Panthers are investigating. Who gave them such authority? They are on the top of the thug list.

Farful
7
Points
Farful 12/16/08 - 09:29 am
0
0
so right, Dr. Spinks.

so right, Dr. Spinks. (shades of 1970)

hossiv
0
Points
hossiv 12/16/08 - 09:30 am
0
0
"This ain't nothing. It's

"This ain't nothing. It's just beginning." I sure am excited to hear words like that! It amazes me that these residents only come out into society and get involved when "one of their brothas" was "hunted down". And what another insightful comment from SMHwhatamessthisis, yes everyone who apparently can't afford to work or help themselves run in and get your camcorder so you can catch all of those mean cops "act out".... she's posted some good ones recently. I know it just churns justus's stomach to find out that none of these cops were "good ole boy" white crackers, cause then he would have some more ammunition, but sadly for him, it didnt work out like that. Look, the only losers in this deal are Elmore's young kids who will grow up w/o a father. Im sure Elmore was really concerned for the well being of his children's lives when he decided to run down the police. Everyone get your camcorders ready, maybe we can catch these fools who are throwing crap at the police

pingputt
0
Points
pingputt 12/16/08 - 09:34 am
0
0
SMH, I want to see you

SMH, I want to see you diagram that never ending, wandering, lengthy sentence.

southern2
6609
Points
southern2 12/16/08 - 09:44 am
0
0
Once again, I am proud of the

Once again, I am proud of the RCSD, risking their lives to protect and serve us here in a county that is remains threatened by a element of those who continue to suck the life blood out of a free and generous society. Keep in mind, the police are only our first line of defense so it is important to always be ready to defend yourself from those Frank Thomas descibes as " these people are close. That's their area. Sometimes they don't trust the police."

Nammy
2
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Nammy 12/16/08 - 09:45 am
0
0
HA! And their answer will be,

HA! And their answer will be, "ah, what's diagram?" LOL That may be asking a bit much.

curly123053
4896
Points
curly123053 12/16/08 - 09:56 am
0
0
Thank God I do not live in

Thank God I do not live in this sorry county of lawlessness. If they support the running of drugs and guns in their streets then they can have it.

I_Wear_Lipstick_2
0
Points
I_Wear_Lipstick_2 12/16/08 - 09:59 am
0
0
Let me get this straight. 12

Let me get this straight. 12 of the 1018 residents are not black. 603 residents are younger than 18. The average household income is $8000 - but when you work even a minimum paying job you can make at least $10,000. Tax-payers (not residents of Cherry Tree Crossing) fund police patrol for this "housing development" that totals more than half a million dollars a year. Mr. Elmore aka Jed, has three children under the age of two, an extensive criminal record/history, is a "known drug dealer" in the area, was shot by police when he tried to run them down with his SUV, and WE, the white people (who support RCSO) in the area...are racist/stereotyping/pigs? Unbelievable.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/16/08 - 10:04 am
0
0
$600000.00 to hire extra

$600000.00 to hire extra deputies. You do not have that many in the good parts of town. Could it be because the people living in the good parts of town do not act like fools and the others do? Ask any deptuty where are the majority of calls.300901

mommie2
2
Points
mommie2 12/16/08 - 10:07 am
0
0
Don't blame the police for

Don't blame the police for your homes getting shot up. Blame the criminal who brought illegal items into your area and refused to cooperate with police.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/16/08 - 10:09 am
0
0
I thought the dislike for

I thought the dislike for police was universal. Ya know like a reflex-nothing personal but you get tickets, etc. that make you hate to see them. Sort a like a dentist. LOL.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 12/16/08 - 10:14 am
0
0
Since shots were heard

Since shots were heard throughout the night at Cherry Tree Crossing, it makes me wonder if possibly the holes in the residences were made from civilian firearms instead of the police. I hope internal investigation recovers the casings and compares them to both officer's firearm to determine if it actually came form the police shooting.

Unbelievable
85
Points
Unbelievable 12/16/08 - 10:16 am
0
0
The GBI has the SUV and the

The GBI has the SUV and the articles state, 'guns and drug periphenaila (sp?) can be seen through the windows'. He deserverd to get shot. I find it hard to believe that trained officers missed a target so close and so big that the bullets traveled into an apartment. They need to put the sorry rascals on the street. It's nothing more than a baby factory for a welfare check. They should enforce birth control prior to giving them a check. Its sad that their are actually people out there this ignorant and stupid.

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 12/16/08 - 10:17 am
0
0
Tavares Green is a city

Tavares Green is a city employee in the roads and bridges dividion and he lives in Cherry Tree Crossing?
All this support of outlaws and crime in the projects underscores this article..this is a must read:http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/16/08 - 10:26 am
0
0
What is disgusting is that

What is disgusting is that all the people throwing objects weren't arrested or better yet shot down like the dogs they are. A thrown object can kill you hitting you in the head or chest so lethal force wouldn't be unwarranted (lol, hee,hee,hee).

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