Police officers and the family of Charles Smith, the Georgia man who allegedly took his own life while being handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car, are asking for calm protests before his funeral.
SAVANNAH, GA- More than a week has passed after the officer involved shooting that has captured headlines all across the Coastal Empire. The day before Charles Smith’s funeral, officers and Smith’s family are still asking for peaceful demonstrations.
“It’s important that they see us here and not just hear from us,” said Metro Police Chief Julie Tolbert.
That’s the message, Metro Police Chief Julie Tolbert expressed to a frustrated West Savannah community, the day before Charles Smith’s funeral.
For more than a week the community has been rallying every day for justice and Chief Tolbert told WJCL, she has been in that community every day since the shooting.
Smith was shot and killed by Metro Police Officer David Jannot, more than a week ago, at gas station off Augusta Avenue.
Police say while Smith was arrested and sitting in the back seat of a patrol car, he tried to kick out the window. Police also say Jannot shot and killed him because he saw a gun on Smith. City leaders and Police Chief Julie Tolbert told the community, there will be a full investigation on what happen, “We want the residents to know that we are very much concerned about them and their concerns about this incident,” said Tolbert.
She wants to make sure things stay peaceful ahead of the funeral, “Whenever they’re huge crowds especially under these circumstances, officers will be in the area to make sure that public safety is enforced,” said Tolbert.
This is an united effort for peace, as city leaders have been calling for calm. That sentiment is echoed from Smith’s family. Just Thursday, Smith’s sister hugged the convenience store owner who turned over surveillance video to the G.B.I.
Friday, Smith’s family attorney Chad Mance told WJCL the family is also calling for calm, “Our position is that we want peaceful protest. There’s nothing wrong with voicing our constitutional rights to free expression, but at the same time we don’t want it to escalate,” said Chad Mance, family attorney.
Tolbert says they’re expecting large crowds in the West Savannah area after the funeral. There could be possible road closures in the Augusta Avenue as well.
(Photo/Video Source: WJCL.com)