LIMA -- More than 100 people marched across Lima's south side Saturday, demanding justice after a Friday night drug raid left one woman dead.
Family, friends and concerned community members gathered at about 5 p.m. at the Cheryl Allen Center on South Central Avenue to light candles and pray for 26-year-old Tarika Wilson. Lima Police Department Chief Greg Garlock said an officer shot and killed Wilson when the Lima police SWAT team stormed her home at 218 E. Third St. on a "high-risk search warrant" looking for illegal drugs.
The SWAT team also shot Wilson's 1-year-old son, Sincere Wilson, in the hand and arm, said the boy's aunt Tania Wilson. He was flown by helicopter to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, where he was being treated.
At the vigil, volunteers distributed candles and homemade fliers printed with the words, "We Want Justice for Tarika Kay Wilson Right Now." Brenda Johnson, director of the Cheryl Allen Center, stood on a chair in the room's center and called for unity among the vigil's participants.
"We're going to pay homage to what went on last night," she said. "We are going to march to show solidarity. Remember that baby that's in that hospital, and remember that girl that's laying on a slab being dissected, because the Lima police overstepped their bounds, and we need to call them back into check."
Multiple leaders in Lima's black community attended the vigil, including the Rev. C.M. Manley, of New Morning Star Baptist Church, the Rev. Arnold Manley, of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, and Jason Upthegrove, president of the Lima chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The crowd of men, women and children marched from the community center to the house where Wilson died, just more than a half-mile north. An impromptu banner covered in signatures and words of encouragement lead the crowd, with one corner held up by Darla Jennings, Wilson's mother. They traveled north on Central Avenue, holding candles and banners and singing gospel songs.
Several people who participated in the march declined to be interviewed by The Lima News or declined to provide their names. While some of them did not know Wilson, they said they thought Lima police had not told the truth about the raid, while others said they simply wanted to support the family.
"It was devastating," said 24-year-old Sophia Hall, a demonstrator whose brother fathered a child with Wilson. "Two people were shot for no reason. You don't kill innocent bystanders. You don't shoot people for no reason."
Once they arrived, they found police officers waiting at the scene. The demonstrators in the street and on the sidewalk, tossing stuffed animals beyond the yellow crime tape onto the house lawn and front porch. Even as most crowd members called for peace, some shouted obscenities at the police, while others called for justice.
"It is time for all of us black sisters and brothers to stand together," Arnold Manley said to the waiting crowd. "We must demand what we want. We want some answers, and we want them very soon."
Demonstrators moved on foot and by car from the house to Main Street, ending the vigil on the front steps of the Lima Police Department. Johnson again addressed the crowd, calling for continued action in the days and weeks to follow. Johnson and Arnold Manley encouraged demonstrators to attend the Lima City Council meeting Monday night, as well as to boycott various bars and businesses in the city and to march every Saturday until the investigation is over.
The vigil was extremely important, said Arnold Manley, as a means to motivate Lima's black community to take a stand. Manley indicated Friday night's raid, as well as Wilson's death, could have been a race issue.
"We're trying to bring the black community together," he said. "It was a peaceful meeting to show that we want to be treated equally. The police don't raid Shawnee, they don't raid Elida. They make it seem like the south end is the only place with drugs. We're tired of our kids being arrested and pulled over at night. We want to be treated right, and that didn't happen."
January 5, 2008 - Lima News (OH)
Woman Defends Her Deceased Sister
By Greg Sowinski
LIMA -- Tarika Wilson was to begin college Monday to study business in hopes of making a better life for herself and her six children.
"She was supposed to start Monday with me," her sister, Tania Wilson, said.
Tarika Wilson will never have that chance.
A Lima Police Department SWAT team officer shot her to death Friday inside her home at 218 E. Third St. during an evening drug raid. The circumstances remained under investigation Saturday with police officials releasing few details about what happened inside the home.
Lima police officials turned the investigation over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for an independent investigation because it involves officers in the department, Chief Greg Garlock said.
Tania Wilson said she and her family are more than upset and have no faith in police.
"I know my sister and I know she wouldn't do nothing to jeopardize her life or her kids," she said.
They want answers and only know bits and pieces of information they have gleaned from the oldest children who were inside the home, she said. She spoke Saturday night from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus where they were visiting her sister's 13-month old son, Sincere Wilson, who also was shot in the raid.
Sincere was out of surgery recovering from a gunshot to his shoulder and another shot that blew off a finger. He is expected to survive but doctors told the family it was too early to say how bad the injuries were.
"They don't know now if he will ever be able to use his arm," she said.
Tania Wilson said her sister's six children were inside the home. Besides Sincere, there is Taesha Wilson, 8, Serenitie Wilson, 7, Sa'raesha Wilson, 5, Johnny Hall III, 4, and Darlajia Wilson, 3.
The information Tania Wilson has gathered from her nieces was police stormed the home after setting off some type of explosive device outside.
"My niece did say she saw firecrackers," she said.
The man police was after, Anthony Terry, the boyfriend of Tarika Wilson, was downstairs in the home. Tarika Wilson and her six children were upstairs, Tania Wilson said.
Tarika Wilson was with her children helping them clean their bedrooms when the home was raided. Tarika Wilson's daughter said her mom was holding the baby when she was shot, Tania Wilson said.
"Her first instinct was the baby. That was her first reaction because she was a good mom," the Tania Wilson said.
As police stormed the home, at least one officer made his way upstairs, she said.
The daughter said she heard a gunshot and saw her mother's arm snap back. She then saw her mother fall face first on the baby, Tania Wilson said.
Tania Wilson and her family are questioning why police would even go into a home where they knew children may be.
"I thought it was always safety and precaution first," she said.
She said her sister doesn't have a gun and can't understand a scenario in which an officer would shoot at her sister and a baby.
"I don't know how you can mistake a 1-year-old baby for a gun. That's what I think. Why else would they shoot her?" she said.
We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.