The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, September 18, 2017
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Georgia DWB Stop Goes Wrong

After a black man dies during a drug stop, Georgia deputies worry that they will not be able to seize and sell the vehicle.

A Muscogee County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man during a drug stop late Wednesday. The stop occurred around 9 PM, and the man died in the hospital just before 2:30 AM Thursday morning. The man was later identified as Kenneth Brown Walker of Columbus, Georgia.

Deputies claimed that despite a thorough search, they were unable to find weapons or drugs in the vehicle. “There is no evidence that any of the men have ever been involved in illegal activity,” said Muscogee County Sheriff Ralph Johnson.

Deputies working with the Metro Narcotics Task Force had been told to be on the lookout for a grey Yukon sports utility vehicle driven by a black man. According to Sheriff Johnson, the vehicle’s description had been acquired from “a confidential informant”, which meant that “we don’t have to tell you anything about it.” According to law enforcement insiders, a “confidential informant” can mean anything from a drug dealer to an illegal wiretap to an agent’s partner looking up the blue book value of a vehicle they might want to seize.

Johnson added that forfeiture of the vehicle seemed unlikely now that the target was dead. “This has gone horribly wrong. I don’t think we’ll be able to confiscate the vehicle from Walker’s friend,” he said. “I’m very upset, and nothing I can say will change that.” City Attorney Clifton Fay noted, however, that the department’s accountants were looking into the possibility of going ahead with the confiscation in spite of Walker’s death.

Some in the black community believe race was involved in the shooting. “We are tired and slaughtered,” said reverend Douglas Force of Walker’s home church. “Every stop may be our last.”

“This has nothing to do with race,” countered Johnson. “I’m tired of the rumblings going on, the snide remarks people are making to law enforcement officers. People have got to understand we’re trying to do a job here. All we wanted to do was seize the truck and sell it.” Johnson called Wednesday “a tragic day for my office, for the city of Columbus, and for both of our budgets.”

According to City Manager Carmen Cavezza, Johnson and the sheriff’s deputies “did the right thing” throughout the ordeal. “This was a by-the-book case,” said Cavezza. “First, they made sure that the deceased had no chance to speak to his friends or his family before he died. That might have been real embarassing to the department and to the city. Second, they’ve kept a tight lid on the video. Finally, he’s stringing everyone along until the press forgets about what is frankly just another death in the war on drugs.”

Fay agreed, adding, “when we get reporters here talking sense, instead of all this gush stuff about murders by men who make mistakes once in a while, we will have a better attitude toward the drug war.”

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