Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead addressed citizens' concerns regarding the rumors, anxiety, anger, fear and incorrect information that have dominated social media over the past week. Chief Broadhead addressed the citizens of Statesboro in a statement on the Police Department's Facebook page this morning.
All of this stems from a planned Justice Caravan for Julian Lewis on Saturday, expected to draw concerned Georgians from all over the state to Sylvania, Georgia. They plan to assemble at Sylvania City Hall at 1:00 P.M.
The goal of the caravan is to bring public support and awareness to the killing of Julian Lewis on August 7th by State Trooper Jacob Thompson.
Attendees will be demanding the release of audio/video footage of Mr. Lewis' killing, as well as the adoption of a statewide standard for use of force.
Statesboro Attorney Francys Johnson, who is part of the legal team representing Julian Lewis's family, in addition to representing Marcus Wilson, is one of the event's organizers.
The only activities planned for Statesboro are at Johnson's office, where local citizens who want to participate are encouraged to assemble, so they can travel to Sylvania as a group.
Schedule of events in Statesboro
- 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM Arrive at Francys Johnson Law Firm parking lot on 51 East Main Statesboro
- 11:30 AM - 11:55 AM Welcome and short presentation/speakers
- 11:55 AM - 12:00 PM Leave for Sylvania to City Hall & Stoney Pond
- 1:00 PM Arrive at Sylvania City Hall and rally
The event ends in Sylvania. There are no further plans to return to Statesboro.
We reached out to Sylvania native Yevette McCall, one of the organizers of the caravan, to address some of the more inflammatory social media rumors.
"This event is being put together by a large group of organizations including the GA Coalition, NAACP, Statesboro's Beloved Community and BLM. We are all working together for a common goal."
"Absolutely NOT! I am from Sylvania and live in Portal. We love these communities. This our home. The last thing we want is violence or destruction in any form. Martin Luther King has proven that you can accomplish so much more with strong, peaceful voices than with violent actions. We want to assemble, and share our concerns PEACEFULLY."
"No. People are coming because they are concerned and want to bring attention to what they feel are injustices in our communities, state and nation."
"Both the Julian Lewis and Marcus Wilson cases have garnered not only statewide, but national attention. People are concerned about these cases and the issues they have brought to light. This also increases the statewide interest. Part of the legal teams representing both Lewis and Wilson are also based in Atlanta. Because of this, there is added interest in Atlanta. We welcome anyone who is concerned and wants to join our efforts."
"We have not been contacted by anyone offering to provide food for the event. Of course, we welcome anyone who wants to help in any way. There has been nothing coordinated for food provision by the organizers."
"Yes. Members of our committee are in contact with local and statewide law enforcement regarding the event. They will be working closely with us to ensure a safe event."
"We are encouraging and asking for everyone participating to mask up and be as safe as possible."
Statesboro Police Prepared to Protect
Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead confirmed this morning that they are working closely with the events organizers to ensure a safe, peaceful gathering in Statesboro.
"We have worked closely with these organizers who coordinated the previous rallys in Statesboro. They have all been well organized and peaceful. We have no reason to expect this caravan will be any different," said Chief Broadhead. "I want to assure the citizens of Statesboro that the Statesboro Police Department is prepared to protect this group's right to assemble and equally prepared to protect all public and private property in the City of Statesboro."
Chief Broadhead added, "For those of you stressing out and dealing with anxiety over a scheduled assembly tomorrow, please go about your day normally. Let me stress out about keeping the community safe in all regards...that's what you pay me to do!"