Vigil held for men and women killed by law enforcement four years ago
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Several deaths at the hands of local law enforcement was the center of a candlelight vigil tonight in downtown Wilmington. The deaths happened years ago, but for family members of the people killed, they say the pain and questions remain.
“We will not forget,” members of Wilmington Black Lives Matter said.
Four years later, and it is not forgotten that a series of people were killed by local law enforcement. Every case was investigated, and each officer or sheriff’s deputy was found to be in the right.
“It’s like every day, on October the 13 it seems like we relive that moment,” Brandon Smith’s sister Georgia Davis said.
The family of Smith, who died in October 2013, still feel the wounds. Law enforcement shot and killed Smith days after he was accused of shooting a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy. He along with several people are the reason Black Lives Matter Wilmington gathered for a candlelight vigil at the 1898 Memorial.
“We’re not going to forget Brandon, Tevon Robinson, Ronald Roland, or Grace Denk,” BLM member Sonya Patrick said.
All of those cases ended with the District Attorney’s office or state agencies finding deputies or police justified in using deadly force. BLM members think justice was not served.
“Literally, law enforcement is actually evaluating themselves, definitely they’re not going to see anything wrong,” Patrick said.
The DA’s office cites the statement they made in 2013 that the evidence they found “showed that they [deputies] used deadly force when an extremely violent felon seemingly placed them in danger” in relation to Smith’s killing.
“We’re trying to stop this form happening to someone else,” said Davis, who added that when Smith died he left behind a family in need of support with his son dealing with a case of leukemia.
Wilmington Police and the New Hanover County Sheriff would not comment about the cases or on it being the anniversary of Smith’s case. The spokesperson for WPD says the department’s thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones.
“He doesn’t have the chance to have a voice, so we feel that we have to be his voice,” Davis says.
Wilmington Black Lives Matter members ask the district attorney allow a citizen review panel to investigate more officer-involved shooting cases.