SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mayor Van Johnson says he has made a point of going to the scene of shootings in Savannah and quickly arrived at the scene of an officer involved shooting Saturday evening.
It resulted in the death of 36 year old Maurice Mincey, after Mincey allegedly tried to fire a gun at officers during a traffic stop.
“Emotions were running high,” said the mayor. “People were understandably upset.”
“We allowed them to be able to vent but I think the other part about it is that you give good information and there were people out there who were peddling bad information, said Johnson. “And I just think that’s unfair to the man who died, I think it’s unfair to the officer, I think it’s unfair to his family you know, when we’re all trying to figure out what happened.”
Johnson says he made a point to speak with the Mr. Mincey’s family.
“I had the opportunity to meet with members of his family and spend time with him and from all accounts he was a good guy.”
But what happened to cause a death is now up to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) according to Johnson.
The GBI issued a preliminary statement saying Mincey did not follow commands from officers and that he had a gun.
“Yes, that is what the GBI reported, I was surprised by getting preliminary report that quickly. I think the Savannah police were surprised as well,” said Johnson,
The mayro says he believes the GBI had an opportunity to see the video from the police officers body cams. But Johnson says the community won’t know until we all see the ‘full GBI report.’
Johnson said it also shows the split decisions that officers have to make every single day.
“My position is if the officer was justified as determined by the GBI in using deadly force then we’re gong to stand by that officer,” said the mayor. “However, if the officer was determined not to have been justified in using deadly force then we’ll hold that officer accountable and that’s fair.”
Johnson is asking community members to trust the GBI which was called in immediatelyto do the investigation. He also says he will continue to go to crime scenes because he doesn’t want people to think any shooting is normal.
“It’s important for the family. It’s important for the law enforcement officers that are are there, they’re out of their beds, I can be out of mine. It’s important for me to feel what they’re feeling,” said the mayor.