SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – On the second anniversary of his brother’s murder, Deontray Grant stood with his attorney as a lawsuit seeking up to $100,000,000 was announced.
In the early morning hours of June 15, 2018, Shawntray Grant, a community activist who sought to end gun violence, became a victim himself. Grant was shot nine times as he was robbed in the parking lot of the apartment complex where he had lived for only one week.
“Mr.Grant’s death was totally preventable,” said Chadrick Mance, an attorney for the Grant family.
Mance says that Grant had moved into a complex that had been built in partnership with private entities and the Housing Authority of Savannah. The lawsuit names the Housing Authority and several private companies, including the company that managed The View apartments.
“There are millions and millions and millions of dollars in low-income tax credits that go into these properties,” Mance said, arguing that there is private and public money for more security measures.
Mance also says, typically, residents in low-income housing are exposed to higher crime rates and that “we could save lives by setting a new standard especially in Savannah.”
“This is not an issue about race, however, race is intertwined in this and it affects poor Black people across this city,” said Mance. “Just because you’re poor and just because you look a certain way doesn’t you have to go home to unsafe housing.”
Mance says the family is using the legal action to try and send a message about public housing safety.
“Shawntray’s (death) was a loss to the City and my brother was a big, gentle-hearted person,” said Deontray Grant.
“Accountability is what we’re looking for,” he added. “We want to change and reverse the cycle.”
Mance recognizes the legal action may get attention because of the dollar amount but says the underlying issue is that it’s designed to draw attention to public housing security across the city and nation and to do what Shawntry Grant stood for, which was to make things better for others
“We’re serious about it,” said Mance. “Shawntray is leading us the entire way and sure, it’s a big fight, but we’re going to give it all we got.”