SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Monday afternoon, the Racial Justice Network (RJN) gathered outside of Savannah City Hall to demand the immediate release of all dash and body cam footage of a recent officer-involved shooting.
The shooting claimed the life of Saudi Lee in late June.
Just last week, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) finished its report of the incident, which has since been turned over to the Chatham County District’s Attorney’s office for review.
“We would like to see that videotape immediately since the GBI has finished they investigation, there’s no reason to hold back on the video,” said elder James Johnson of the Racial Justice Network. “This family needs closure and it needs closure now.”
Those close to Saudi Lee say, he had obtained his concealed carry permit from the state, granting him legal permission to carry a firearm.
On top of that, RJN argues that because of Georgia’s constitutional carry law, there’s no reason that an officer should have chased and shot Lee.
“Because it’s an open carry he should have not been chased by anybody, he had the right to have that open weapon, but then on top of that he went and got a permit because he knew that something or somebody would act up,” said Rev. Alan Mainor, President of the RJN’s Savannah chapter.
They question why Savannah Police officer Ernest Ferguson was even allowed on the force. They cited reports that said he was released from Coastal State Prison.
They say since joining SPD, Ferguson had been reprimanded multiple times for not turning his body camera on.
“He did not only wreak havoc on our community, but he was a menace on every job he went to. He was being reprimanded for beating up inmates, why was he allowed to come on SPD?” Mainor questioned. “We’re not asking, we’re demanding justice for this family.”
WSAV reached out to the District Attorney’s office for a potential timeline of when the body and dash cam footage may be released. It said there is no information available at this time because the case is still active.
Once the case is no longer active, it says they will make a determination if any parts of that file will be released.