NAACP calls for release of bodycam footage after officer fires shots at car with 2 teens inside

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WAYCROSS, Ga. – The president of the Waycross chapter of the NAACP is demanding the release of body camera footage of an attempted traffic stop, during which investigators said a Waycross police officer fired multiple shots at a car with two teenage boys inside.

Larry Lockey, president of the Waycross chapter of the NAACP, said he’s worried if the incident goes unnoticed, there won’t be any justice.

“We don’t want to see anyone die. We’re coming too close,” said Lockey, who also wants Waycross to have a citizens review board for police transparency. “Our lives matter here. And we are just tired of dying. We’re done.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation of the incident Saturday morning in Waycross. Two boys, ages 16 and 15, were inside the car when a Waycross police officer approaching from the front fired multiple times, saying the vehicle had begun driving toward him, the GBI said.

Nobody was hurt by the gunfire. Before the shooting started, three younger children — ages 14, 12 and 9 — ran from the vehicle, the GBI said in a news release Saturday. The agency said the officer who opened fire had come to assist another Waycross officer who began following the car after witnessing the driver commit a traffic violation.

Waycross police also said both teenagers inside the car were arrested on charges of illegal possession of a firearm by a minor. The 16-year-old driver was also charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless driving, running a stop sign and driving without a license.

The 15-year-old passenger was also charged with additional crimes of obstruction of a police officer and attempting to remove an officer’s firearm, according to the statement from the Waycross Police Department.

A statement from Waycross police said two officers have been placed on administrative leave while the GBI investigates, which is customary in Georgia. Family members of the minors involved in the incident have started an online petition calling for the removal of the officers.

Lockey said he’s concerned about the case going before Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who recused himself from the Ahmaud Arbery case.

“I don’t feel that justice will be served,” Lockey said.

Atlanta attorney Gerald Griggs, a vice president of the city’s NAACP chapter, also said the Georgia NAACP wants police to immediately release body camera and dashboard camera footage of the attempted traffic stop.

Civil Rights attorney Reganel Reeves calls it a very interesting situation.

“It’s hard to read that in the situation if the officer felt his life was in danger and started engaging in shots,” Reeves said. “Typically when an officer engages in their firearm, they usually shoot to kill.”

Reeves calls the information released vague and says the people in this area want more information and transparency from the department.

“There should always be a level of consistency and just because nobody died in this situation, I don’t believe that they should look at it any less,” Reeves said.

Public record requests for the officers previous officer-involved shootings and the body camera footage have been put in.

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