The Mobile County NAACP criticized a grand jury’s decision not to criminally charge the police officer who fatally shot a Black teenager, AL.com reports.
Mobile police Officer Harold Hurst killed Michael Moore in Mobile, Alabama, during a traffic stop in June. According to authorities, Moore, 19, was driving a stolen vehicle and attempted to reach for a gun in his waistband during the stop.
The NAACP released a statement Tuesday night following the grand jury’s announcement earlier that day:
“A number of questions remain about the case, particularly the disposition of the weapon, witness testimony and other facts that we believe warranted further examination in a court of law. What legal precedents were applied to these facts? Without knowing what evidence was presented to the 17-member grand jury, we are operating in a vacuum. Therefore, we cannot have complete satisfaction with the process or total confidence in the grand jury members’ collective decision.”
A separate AL.com report said disputes exist about key circumstances surrounding the shooting. Some witness accounts raised questions about whether Moore actually reached for a weapon.
Additionally, others point out that Moore’s weapon was not secured at the scene, causing some to speculate that it was planted. Authorities said the weapon remained in Moore’s waistband and turned over to police at the hospital.
Many of those questions caused discontent and protests in Mobile after the shooting. The grand jury’s decision makes it unlikely that there will be answers at a trial.
Grand jury secrecy only fuels anger and distrust of the process. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said at a press conference Tuesday that the jurors heard more than 40 hours of testimony—including evidence from police and FBI investigations. However, the law prohibits her from discussing details.
Two elected state officials, State Sen. Vivian Davis Figures and State Rep. Barbara Drummond, attended the press conference as representatives of the group Leaders for Truth and Justice and assailed the lack of transparency.
Figures said, “There’s so much that we don’t know. We don’t know what was presented to the grand jury,” the news outlet reported.
She has questions about whether the officer followed procedure and if the grand jury looked into that issue. Figures added that she has “faith” that the Justice Department would continue its investigation.
The NAACP echoed those questions, adding that it plans to expand its own investigation into the shooting.
SOURCE: AL.com | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter, Facebook