Religious leaders and local advocates in Savannah, Ga. are calling for the police chief to resign following the fatal shooting of a Black man by police, per The Associated Press. The killing of Saudi Arai Lee, 31, is undergoing a federal investigation but the people are demanding a probe into the other officer-involved shootings in the area.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Lee was walking around his neighborhood Friday when he was spotted by officers. When they approached him, he followed the protocol everyone is taught when interacting with police. Lee showed his wallet, the weapons permit inside it and also lifted his shirt to remove a weapon from its holster.
It’s unclear what led to the next moments or why they approached him in the first place, but police say a short chase followed the interaction. The chase resulted in Lee being shot by Savannah Police Officer Ernest Ferguson, a white man. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Lee was the fifth to die at the hands of police in Savannah this year.
More on the case from AP News:
“Family after family are crying because of sons or their daughters shot down by this police department and it must stop,” Elder James Johnson, founder of the activist group Racial Justice Network, said at a news conference Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it’s the training or a fear of a Black man, but seems like they shoot and ask questions later, and we cannot and will not tolerate this,” he said.
Johnson said there will be multiple protests outside the police department to demand Police Chief Roy Minter to step down because he hasn’t done a good job training his officers. One could say the same for multiple police departments around the country.
Per the department’s Facebook page, Ferguson joined the department March 2021 and had just completed his officer patrol training eight months ago. Since the incident, he’s been placed on administrative leave, per the Savannah Morning News.
A spokeswoman for the police told AP News the department is awaiting the results from the GBI’s federal probe and another investigation by the Internal Affairs Divisions.