Monday, November 27, 2000

Protests of police shooting in Owensboro urged

The Associated Press

        OWENSBORO, Ky. — The Rev. Louis Coleman urged about 20 protesters to carry on nightly vigils at the street corner where a white city police officer fatally shot a black man on Nov. 16.

        The FBI and the Owensboro Police Department are conducting separate investigations into the fatal shooting of Tyrone Clayton by Officer Lorhn Frazier.

        Protesters braved chilly temperatures and steady rain as they gathered Saturday at the shooting site.

        “We don't want this incident to be forgotten,” the Rev. Mr. Coleman told the crowd. “We don't want it pushed aside.”

        The Rev. Mr. Coleman of Shelbyville said he plans to return to town on Friday with civil-rights activist Dick Gregory to march on Owensboro's City Hall. The Rev. Mr. Coleman and local black leaders want to tell Owensboro Mayor Waymond Morris their concerns about the police department's investigation, eyewitness accounts that conflict with the police version and the possibility that the body might have been moved before the coro ner had been contacted, a violation of Kentucky law.

        “The mayor is ultimately responsible for what happens in your city,” the Rev. Mr. Coleman told the crowd.

        The Rev. Mr. Coleman encouraged the protesters to stand at the corner of Seventh and Sycamore every night with a banner reading: “Fatal Police Brutality Happened on this corner. No Justice. No Peace.”

        Officer Frazier pulled Mr. Clayton over on a traffic stop. Mr. Clayton was shot twice following a foot chase after he jumped into a car left running nearby.

        Police officials said Mr. Clayton tried to run over Officer Frazier with the car, prompting the policeman to fire. Eyewitness Ann Higgs said that wasn't what she saw. She said the car was not moving when the officer fired the first shot.

        “It's hard to sleep at night,” said Ms. Higgs, who attended Saturday's vigil. “I seen all that happened.”

        The commonwealth attorney's office has said it is “very satisfied” with the investigation. The FBI's investigation will take about three more weeks, officials said.


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Local Digest
- Protests of police shooting in Owensboro urged