SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Following the officer-involved shooting of Saudi Lee, the fifth in Savannah this year, civil rights advocates are calling on Chief Roy Minter to step down.
“Family after family are crying because of sons or their daughters shot down by this police department and it must stop,” said Elder James Johnson, founder of the Racial Justice Network, Wednesday outside of the Carver Heights Community Center.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), an officer shot Lee in the Carver Heights neighborhood around noon on Friday.
…officers were patrolling an area near Gwinnett Street and Crosby Street when they noticed an individual walking in the middle of Gwinnett Street. Officers approached Saudi Arai Lee, 31, of Savannah, to speak with him. Lee immediately showed his wallet saying it contained his weapons permit. Lee lifted his shirt and pulled a weapon from a holster. A short chase ensued, and Lee was shot by an officer.excerpt of GBI statement on officer-involved shooting
Officials said medical aid was rendered on the scene, but Lee was then transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“There will be a series of protests in front of this police department to demand that this police chief step down,” Johnson said, adding, “we don’t think that he’s doing a good job in training his officers.”
Born and raised in Carver Village, Felicia Walker said she had encountered the same officer who shot Lee, “one of her neighborhood sons.”
The officer allegedly pointed mace in her face as the officer and his partner were questioning another one of her “neighborhood sons” at a store in the area.
“This is tragic. We should not be here,” Walker said.
A memorial now sits made by family and friends now sits where the 31-year-old died.
“To know him was to love him,” Walker said. “He was misunderstood by a lot, but he is a very smart young man. He did not deserve what happened Friday.”
The Savannah Police Department released the following statement through its spokesperson.
“Immediately upon learning of the officer-involved shooting on June 24, the Savannah Police Department contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct a thorough and independent investigation. At the same time, SPD’s Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation into the actions that occurred that day. Both investigations are ongoing independently of one another at this time. Once the GBI concludes its investigation, the case will be handed over to the DA’s Office to make a final determination.“
Watch the full press conference below: