BARNES

The Covington News - - Front page -

bro­ken by ei­ther the protestors or the CPD.

How­ever, CPD Chief Stacey Cot­ton re­cently brought up a state or­di­nance that could pos­si­bly be a vi­o­la­tion, O.C.G.A. 16-11-34.2, which does not al­low any­one to con­duct a “pub­lic as­sem­bly, pa­rade, demon­stra­tion, or other like event, ei­ther fixed or pro­ces­sional, within 500 feet of the cer­e­mo­nial site or lo­ca­tion be­ing used for a fu­neral or memo­rial ser­vice at any time one hour prior to, dur­ing, or one hour af­ter the posted time.”

Wynne said that he is re­view­ing all the facts and cir­cum­stances of the protest to see if this law was in fact bro­ken. How­ever, at this time this is only al­le­ga­tion he is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing. He also spec­i­fied that even if the protestors broke this law the po­lice would not be held re­spon­si­ble, be­cause they had no in­tent to break the law, which was only passed within the past cou­ple years, and were try­ing to keep the peace.

The fam­ily be­lieves that sev­eral more laws were bro­ken and the NAACP has joined the fam­ily’s fight.

Ge­or­gia NAACP Pres­i­dent Ed­ward Du­bose spoke at Mon­day’s coun­cil meet­ing and re­quested that the city coun­cil vote to in­ves­ti­gate th­ese al­le­ga­tions. He said the NAACP’s le­gal depart­ment had re­viewed the al­le­ga­tion and be­lieved laws were bro­ken. He said the NAACP would not let this is­sue go un­til jus­tice is served.

“We be­lieve some vi­o­la­tions have taken place in your city and the lead­er­ship, from the mayor’s of­fice to the city man­ager, even to the district at­tor­ney and the po­lice of­fi­cers, and are al­low­ing it to take place” Du­bose said. “I will as­sure you, I will as­sure you that we will be back and will take this case per­sonal.”

Mayor Kim Carter said that the city coun­cil room was not a court of law, and be­cause of the le­gal na­ture of the sit­u­a­tion, she di­rected Du­bose and the fam­ily to write down any re­quests for the city coun­cil and send those to City At­tor­ney Ed Crudup.

John Evans, pres­i­dent of Op­er­a­tion LEAD, said the fact that the fam­ily could not even get a meet­ing with district at­tor­ney or city was rep­re­hen­si­ble. He said that if the sit­u­a­tion was re­versed and a black fam­ily had protested a white fu­neral they wouldn’t have been is­sued a per­mit and would have been locked up if they protested, a sen­ti­ment which was sup­ported lo­cal NAACP Mem­ber Archie Shep­herd.

The Barnes fam­ily and rep­re­sen­ta­tives did say that race was not a fac­tor, but Du­bose said the NAACP did see pos­si­ble racial tones, be­cause the fam­ily is black and the law en­force­ment lead­er­ship is white.

Du­bose said that the fam­ily would be send­ing a let­ter to the city coun­cil re­quest­ing spe­cific ac­tions, and he would also be con­tin­u­ing to ed­u­cate the com­mu­nity on the is­sue to gar­ner more sup­port for the Barnes fam­ily.

Mayor Pro-Tem Hawnethia Wil­liams said there needs to be clo­sure, be­cause th­ese tragedies had po­lar­ized the com­mu­nity. She said she would con­tinue to pray for both fam­i­lies.

“Even though we are pol­icy mak­ers and we have rules we have to abide by, we are also in­di­vid­u­als, with per­son­al­i­ties and we re­mem­ber who we are and whose we are … (we rec­og­nize) that there is a spir­i­tu­al­ity in­volved and are con­cerned about what you have and not just rules and reg­u­la­tions and laws,” she said.

Wil­liams asked the Rev. Harold Cobb to com­ment on the mat­ter, and he said that he just re­quested that every­one work to­gether so that they can work past th­ese is­sues.

When Coun­cil­woman Ocie Franklin be­gan to say that the fam­ily needs to let ev­ery­thing go be­fore they can have clo­sure, the fam­ily and other mem­bers walked out of the meet­ing.

Du­bose said Wed­nes­day that the fam­ily was walk­ing out on the coun­cil, not just Franklin, be­cause they felt she was re­peat­ing the same things and wasn’t re­spect­ing the fam­ily’s needs.

“We felt that they con­tin- ued to dis­re­spect us, and the fam­ily said we can’t take it no longer, and they de­cided to leave rather than be sub­jected to that,” Du­bose said.

Af­ter the meet­ing Franklin said she knows the fam­ily is hurt but they won’t have clo­sure if they hate in their hearts.

“You can’t solve prob­lems with hate. The (King and Ca­sola fam­i­lies) were wrong to march, but I can’t make it right. I can’t take it back. But we can work to­gether to change,” Franklin said. She added that if the group makes spe­cific re­quests of the coun­cil they will con­sider them.

Of­fi­cially, the coun­cil said that all ques­tions need to go through City At­tor­ney Ed Crudup, be­cause of the le­gal na­ture of the is­sues, and Du­bose said the fam­ily and NAACP would be send­ing that let­ter soon.

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