A Statement from NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch No. 1112 :
On January 5, 2020, Sparks Police officers shot and killed Miciah Lee, an African-American teen. His mother, in desperation, had called police begging for them to save her 18-year-old mentally ill son who had threatened to kill himself. "Lee had committed no crimes, but wanted to die," Feemster said. "He suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder all his life. His distraught mother called the police for help. She told them he was mentally ill and threatening to kill himself. "The officers came and killed him," Feemster said. "Those involved wore body cams and videos exist of the incident. The videos have not been released to the family or the attorney representing the mother, Terri Keyser-Cooper.
"Because Sparks officers killed Lee, another law enforcement agency was required to investigate the death. The case was given to the Reno Police Department. The investigation took five months. In early May, the case was referred to the Washoe County District Attorney's Office for review and determination as to whether any of the officers involving in the shooting should be criminally charged," Feemster said.
The videos and investigation reports have still not been released.
"The deputy district attorney assigned to the case, Matthew Lee (no relation), has refused to provide the report or the videos, or indicate when he will be finished reviewing it. Deputy DA Lee refuses to allow the family to review the videos or see any information about the shooting. "When Ms. Keyser-Cooper spoke to Deputy DA Lee on Friday, May 29, 2020, he indicated he had a 'timeline' and would get to it when he got to it. He appeared to be in no hurry," Feemster said. "Especially in light of this weekend's events, Washoe County DA Christopher Hicks needs to expedite the review of the case so that the investigation and videos of the shooting can be released to the family.
"Cities are burning. Our voice is being corrupted by those that advocate violence and destruction. This is not the message of the NAACP. We demand that the truth be timely released to public advocacy organizations in a timely manner. We need legislation which explicitly requires that to happen," Feemster stressed
"There have been too many police killings of our black young men (see FatalEncounters.org/) and we have seen law enforcement delay providing reports and videos. We need to see the reports now, Deputy DA Lee needs to know there is a timeline and the black community wants to see what happened," Feemster demanded.
Call Washoe County District Attorney: (775)328-3200
My name is ___________ and I am committed to justice and stand with the Black community. I demand that Washoe County District Attorney, Christopher Hicks release the investigation of Miciah Lee or immediately announce a timeline for its release. If a timeline is released, a justification for the delay should also be stated for transparency. This is a bare minimum step to respect the sanctity of Miciah Lee’s life and his family’s right to the truth.
Call Sparks Police Department: (775) 353-2428
My name is ___________ and I am committed to justice and stand with the Black community. I demand that the Sparks Police Department release body camera footage showing the encounter they had with Miciah Lee to his family. This is a bare minimum step to respect the sanctity of Miciah Lee’s life and his family’s right to the truth.
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