200 march after Elmore's funeral

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Pumping fists and chanting "no justice, no peace," about 200 people marched through Cherry Tree Crossing housing development Monday in a demonstration against police brutality, led by shotgun-toting members of the New Black Panthers Party's Augusta chapter.

The march went off peacefully, but when it ended at the site where 23-year-old Justin "Jed" Elmore's SUV crashed after he was shot by deputies last week, officers in riot gear were waiting by a package store across 15th Street. Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Cherry Tree residents called the department complaining about Panthers members carrying guns.

"This created a major problem there, but it was not caused by folks living there," the sheriff said. "We were not going to let anyone be over there with weapons."

The march followed Mr. Elmore's funeral Monday morning at Macedonia Baptist Church on Wrightsboro Road. Uniformed members of the New Black Panthers -- a militant black supremacist organization founded in Dallas in 1989 and not affiliated with the Black Panther Party that became well-known in the 1960s -- were on hand for that, too.

Augusta chapter Chairman Bobby Price said he wanted to give neighborhood residents a nonviolent outlet to vent against Mr. Elmore's Dec. 14 killing, which sparked civil unrest with residents hurling rocks, bottles and invectives at deputies.

Not wanting to spark another confrontation when police arrived, Mr. Price had his members put their guns away and, after an interview with a local television reporter, wrapped up the demonstration and left.

"I didn't want to create a situation that could escalate and get someone hurt," Mr. Price said.

One deputy on hand was filming the scene. Sheriff Strength said his office will try to identify the Panthers' members, and charges might be filed for disorderly conduct. The group didn't notify the sheriff's office of the demonstration beforehand or obtain permits, and the Augusta Housing Authority didn't want them on its property, he said.

"Somebody could have been hurt, whether they were legal over there or not," Sheriff Strength said.

Mr. Price said all seven of his members who were present have permits to carry guns. The New Black Panthers is a militant, self-defense group exercising its right to bear arms, he said.

"We didn't do anything that I'm aware of that was against the law," Mr. Price said.

Yusuf Shalid, a family friend of Mr. Elmore who'd spoken at his funeral earlier, watched the march disapprovingly. When it ended, he tried to talk members of the crowd into going home.

He told them the Panthers shouldn't be carrying guns through a neighborhood where children live, nor should marchers be walking around with cups of beer and drinking from bottles in paper bags.

"It's about dealing with things intelligently," Mr. Shalid implored the group, then, gesturing to the deputies across the street, "These folks here will gun you down."

At the funeral, the Rev. Al Sharpton, in town for the annual James Brown Christmas toy giveaway, said he stood by ministers' and politicians' calls for calm.

"But there must be an equal call for justice," he told more than 600 people packed into the church. "To call for peace without justice is just a call for quiet. We need real peace."

The Rev. Sharpton said outside the church that the shooting troubles him because the officers didn't appear to have been in life-threatening circumstances, and Mr. Elmore wasn't a violent criminal.

Deputies Michael Hodge and Jose Rivera Ortiz had stopped Mr. Elmore at Cherry Tree Crossing on a tip he had drugs and weapons in his SUV, and said Mr. Elmore tried to run them over after they'd boxed him in. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the case and has refused to release police car videos.

The Rev. Sharpton said the incident has similarities to the killing of Sean Bell, who in 2006 was shot on his wedding day in Queens, N.Y., by plainclothes and undercover New York City Police Department Officers.

"Don't expect us to sit quietly while they take target practice with our children," the Rev. Sharpton said at the funeral.

Macedonia Baptist Pastor Gregory M. Fuller's eulogy called for young blacks to use Mr. Elmore's death as an impetus to return to school, obtain GED certificates and "get rid of the welfare mentality.

"This really ain't no funeral," the Rev. Fuller said, standing over Mr. Elmore's silver-colored coffin surrounded by poinsettias, peace lilies and roses. "Maybe what this really is is the conception of something that's going to be birthed, something that's going to change the world."

Mr. Shalid alluded during the funeral to the big-hearted image of Mr. Elmore that has emerged since his death.

"I've seen Jed see young brothers on the street. The first thing he asked them was, 'Did you go to school today?' " Mr. Shalid said.

Then he would reach into his pocket to "make it better for them," he said.

"He touched so many people that it's amazing how society can attempt to define someone by something they have no knowledge of," Mr. Shalid said. "No man can be truly defined by one characteristic. The Bible says that a righteous man falls down several times. We all have been something else before we became who we are today."

Staff writers Adam Folk and LaTina Emerson contributed to this article.

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

BACKGROUND:

On Dec. 14, Justin Leonard Elmore, a 23-year-old with an extensive criminal background who was on probation for drug convictions, was shot by Richmond County sheriff's deputies. The two deputies said Mr. Elmore tried to run one of them over when they had him penned in at the Cherry Tree Crossing public housing complex. As news of the shooting spread, rocks and bottles were thrown at deputies, fires were set in trash bins, and extra deputies were called in for security. The deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.

DEVELOPMENTS:


- On Dec. 15, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said the deputies appeared to be justified in the shooting, and the case was being investigated by the GBI.


- On Dec. 16, Mr. Elmore was taken off life support and died. Cherry Tree Crossing residents responded to the news by holding a candlelight vigil at the complex. A few people at the event threw rocks and bottles at deputies, and four were arrested. The same night, the GBI said it had video of the shooting but would not release it until the investigation is complete.


- On Thursday, city leaders met at Good Shepherd Baptist Church on Olive Road and called for calm. The GBI asked the FBI for assistance in its investigation.


- On Friday, the GBI said the SUV driven by Mr. Elmore was not stolen, as had been reported earlier.

Comments (200) Add comment
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SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/23/08 - 01:45 am
0
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Macedonia Baptist Pastor

Macedonia Baptist Pastor Gregory M. Fuller's eulogy called for young blacks to use Mr. Elmore's death as an impetus to return to school, obtain GED certificates and "get rid of the welfare mentality..I have been preaching for people in Harrisburg to get rid of that welfare mentality for a long time and I have got whitiesses.
The welfare mentality is at the root of drugs, gangs and crime. support www.hongkongaugustaga.org

beentheredonethat1
0
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beentheredonethat1 12/23/08 - 02:35 am
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Such a shame they couldn't

Such a shame they couldn't talk the 200 into picking up all the trash that has accumulated since they began their "peaceful demonstrating". And when will people learn, aligning yourselves with Shakedown Sharpton will not bolster your case. Does Tawana Brawley ring a bell? And what similarities does he see with the NYC case? I dont recall hearing about any plainclothed or undercover officers being involved here. And since when does ramming your vehicle into marked police cars not constitute being a "violent criminal"? The only person that seemed to have a grasp on things was the pastor. I'm sure when he made the comment about getting off of the welfare, Al did a double take. This clown has lived off of peoples backs his entire life. The fire department should have been on stand by at the church when this buffoon walked through its doors. Oh yeah, and I'm sure Mr. Elmore was really concerned with whehter or not his young brothers had attended school or not. I especially loved the touching piece about how he would reach into his pocket and give them a little pick me up. So moving, and I'm sure he had just earned his merit badge when he was gunned down. Please!

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/23/08 - 02:51 am
0
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10 Point Platform What the

10 Point Platform
What the New Black Panthers Want
What the New Black Panthers Believe
1. We want freedom. We want the power to practice self-determination, and to determine the destiny of our community and THE BLACK NATION.
We believe in the spiritual high moral code of our Ancestors. We believe in the truths of the Bible, Quran, and other sacred texts and writings. We believe in MAAT and the principles of NGUZO SABA. We believe that Black People will not be free until we are able to determine our Divine Destiny.
2. We want full employment for our people and we demand the dignity to do for ourselves what we have begged the white man to do for us.
We believe that since the white man has kept us deaf, dumb and blind, and used every “dirty trick” in the book to stand in the way of our freedom and independence, that we should be gainfully employed until such time we can employ and provide for ourselves.
We believe further in: POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE! WEALTH IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE! ARMS IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE!
3. We want tax exemption and an end to robbery of THE BLACK NATION by the CAPITALIST. We want an end to the capitalistic domination.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/23/08 - 02:52 am
0
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www.hongkongaugustaga.org

www.hongkongaugustaga.org welcomes the upwardly mobile new black panthers to our neighborhood.

YesImTalkingtoYou
0
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YesImTalkingtoYou 12/23/08 - 03:59 am
0
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SargentMidTown: You be

SargentMidTown: You be kidding us, right?? U New-Black-Fake-Muslims are just so funny.

Just me 2
0
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Just me 2 12/23/08 - 04:13 am
0
0
Black Panthers??? I thought a

Black Panthers??? I thought a Panther was a darn cat. This sounds just a racist as the KKK!!!

GGpap
528
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GGpap 12/23/08 - 04:23 am
0
0
And...with a shotgun color

And...with a shotgun color guard? Stupid is as stupid does. GGpap.

NEone
6
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NEone 12/23/08 - 04:30 am
0
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I want to know what was in

I want to know what was in his pocket that he would share with school children.

wcr250
71
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wcr250 12/23/08 - 04:41 am
0
0
Let the war began lets run

Let the war began
lets run every liberal heathen in this country out
lets start with al and jesse the panthers,thenfederal judges then university professors then congress and on and on

wildman
1519
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wildman 12/23/08 - 05:12 am
0
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This is sad, very sad that we

This is sad, very sad that we as a society regardless of color have come to this. I support the fact that we need to police our selves but not in a manner to direct hate at others as indicated in some of the comments. Young people should go to school, learn self respect and to respect others, reading, etc. and then go do something positive in life. Stop blaming others for their current state and do something better, it can be done.

Jim-bob
1
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Jim-bob 12/23/08 - 05:29 am
0
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How can you have a peaceful

How can you have a peaceful march with someone waving a shotgun? March though my hood and see what it gets you, black pansy!

christian134
2
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christian134 12/23/08 - 05:50 am
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And this is supposed to sound

And this is supposed to sound the bells of equality when a funeral is held with the express purposes of saying "Watch out people of Augusta we are Black supported by Blacks who are surrounded and supported by New Black Panthers...You think we came in to assure that discrimination of all authority and especially the White Race had better be prepared for what is to come." Oh yeah and we are really on the road to equality with a new President in an new upcoming year...All respect for many of the Black Race has just gone the way of the "do do bird"...As for as myself goes just to look at this action is demeaning and most disrespectful of authority, morality and just plain out civilized behavior...

christian134
2
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christian134 12/23/08 - 05:56 am
0
0
So by this response the next

So by this response the next time a White man, woman or child is harmed by an authority figure or by a member of the Black Race we should bring in the KKK..Please you people are a direct slap in the face of what is right and wrong...All this has done is draw the line in the sand...Not all believe in this sort of ill behavior but enough to make it front page news and so stereotype the Black race...

jshiver15
0
Points
jshiver15 12/23/08 - 06:16 am
0
0
I like how these freaking

I like how these freaking idiots wore t-shirts with his MUGSHOT from a PREVIOUS arrest on them. Am I the only one who finds this completely ironic?

Trouble1
0
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Trouble1 12/23/08 - 06:19 am
0
0
ok, jed got his justice,

ok, jed got his justice, where is our peace?

christian134
2
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christian134 12/23/08 - 06:25 am
0
0
:-) So true so true

:-) So true so true jshiver15...

patriciathomas
44
Points
patriciathomas 12/23/08 - 06:26 am
0
0
No matter how this incident

No matter how this incident is phrased in this article, what actually happened is that there was a peaceful march within the project that gave the participants a way to vent, and it didn't lead to anyone's death. Lots of show of force... no action beyond that. As usual, Sharpton's comments were inappropriate, inciting, and off target. Luckily, no one in Cherry Tree reads. It's time for the AC to let this incident follow Elmore to the grave.

karmakills123
12
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karmakills123 12/23/08 - 06:33 am
0
0
LOL @ jshiver.......

LOL @ jshiver.......

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 12/23/08 - 07:03 am
0
0
Who paid for this lavish

Who paid for this lavish funeral? Did this funeral have a police escort? A eulogy for a life-long criminal, now hero and martyr?

D.B.
0
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D.B. 12/23/08 - 07:26 am
0
0
this was not in my mind a

this was not in my mind a black /white issue the young man was wrong. perhaps the officers could have use better judgement but this young man should have done the same.bad decision yields bad results.nothing good will come from this terrible crime,but we must still up lift our young people and show them that there is a better way.

Justthefacts please
0
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Justthefacts please 12/23/08 - 07:44 am
0
0
Only in America can a common

Only in America can a common street criminal be hauled off to his resting place amid pomp and protest. When he should have been out looking for work, any kind of work, he chose to ride around in a car with guns and drugs. Now he's a hero? What a joke. Even bigger fools are people like Al Sharpton, who has made a nice living off of social unrest and pure stupidity, and the New Black Panthers who eventually will get themselves killed by strutting about waving shotguns. The only comforting thought is that Augusta is now freed from one more fool adding to a foul gene pool.

SCGAL53
0
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SCGAL53 12/23/08 - 07:45 am
0
0
The "show of force" by the

The "show of force" by the NBPs was supposed to be a scare tactic. This was not a peaceful demonstration, nor was it intended to be. They intend to keep up a racial divide and unfortunately, many young people idolize them. How awful for the children to witness this.

christian134
2
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christian134 12/23/08 - 07:47 am
0
0
This is exactly what the

This is exactly what the Sharptons, Jacksons and the rest of the NAACP are teaching the young...If your young and black the rest of the world is supposed to bow to all your little indiscretions and chalk them off as a byproduct of the evil white race as well as police profiling...Keep up the good work NAACP....Hooray to the New Black Panthers...

Ole School
1
Points
Ole School 12/23/08 - 07:54 am
0
0
" evil White race " ? if the

" evil White race " ? if the naacp what equality let them start by teaching it ....... peaceful ? with shotguns.... keep it up, all its going to take is a spark . lets keep the racism off the streets whether it be white or black,

Boston93
129
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Boston93 12/23/08 - 07:56 am
0
0
Thanks patriciathomas for the

Thanks patriciathomas for the below comment.
It's time for the AC to let this incident follow Elmore to the grave.
Need to add that the AC needs to limit stirring up the pot with positive things our law enforcement does to protect the city.

curly123053
7247
Points
curly123053 12/23/08 - 08:03 am
0
0
When will these people take

When will these people take their blinders off? This was not a white vs black issue but a right vs wrong issue. I really think we are seeing the END Times the Book talks about. Lot's of prayer is needed here.

I4PUTT
5
Points
I4PUTT 12/23/08 - 08:06 am
0
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Guys...let it go. A criminal

Guys...let it go. A criminal was shot during the commission of a crime, he has been buried, the march is over, Al is most likely gone....Done, finished.

klee0915
38
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klee0915 12/23/08 - 08:06 am
0
0
So much hatred, so little

So much hatred, so little compassion. As a former Augusta resident, day after day, I read these posts and I simply shake my head with disgust. Yes, this is a very sad situation, my sympathies for the family. My understanding to the residents of these communities. My admonishments to those who continue to build the racial divide. These hate message do no more than fuel the fire of racism. The stereotypes are unfair and the predjudices infect our children; just as your parents have infected many of you - both black and white. These anonymous post are very similar to the days when "Christians" wore white robes with hoods except now, the spewed venom is hidden behind a pseudonymn. Many of you have no desire to heal these wounds because of the pathetic need to feel "superior" than another person, regardless of ethnicity for it happens within the races. I will not hide - My name is Kellie Harper-Lee and feel free to google me. If many of you truly researched your ancestory you will SURELY find that Black blood runs through your veins. When discovered would you have the same opinions that you have today. Would you acknowldge it? Shame on many of you. God Bless the families of the dead.

stillamazed
1493
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stillamazed 12/23/08 - 08:07 am
0
0
Nothing is peaceful with the

Nothing is peaceful with the Panthers and Sharton around. Sharpton is a media hog, he is going to be wherever he thinks he can get a little publicity. I'm sorry but this young man was a criminal and regardless of your circumstances in life that does not give you the right to go out and commit crimes, if you choose to live that type of life then you don't care much about the possible outcome. I feel for this young mans family because I am sure they loved him but he choose the life he was leading, we all have choices.........go to school, get an education, stop using excuses and stop blaming other people and the government for your own short comings. And to sargentmidtown are you kidding, exempt from paying taxes??????? Tax payers are already paying enough for these welfare lifers, if these people are so concerned then go to work, teach your children to be responsible law abiding citizens, take some pride in your community, work to get drugs off the streets.

amgibson
30
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amgibson 12/23/08 - 08:10 am
0
0
I can't believe that the

I can't believe that the black community, even the ignorant side of it, can't see how ridiculous this whole situation is becoming. Marching for a criminal??? Give me a break! The fact that the only photo available to include on a t-shirt was a mug shot should give that away. And as far as the New Black Panthers... you all are the biggest morons of them all, and are the ones who are afraid. Try marching your so called militant asses into a white neighborhood with your shotguns held high. You'd make it about 4 or 5 yards before someone air conditioned your brain. Hopefully Al Sharpton wouldn't be too far behind and someone could give his fat, racist butt a good shooting, too. If the individuals who care so much for the state of equality put this much effort into getting an education, job, or a clue, instead of stirring up chaos over a supposed injustice towards a low-life, then we'd all be better off.

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