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July 28, 2007 - Savannah Morning News (GA)

Family Blames Cops In 80 Year-Old's Fatal Shooting

By Bridget Murphy

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If anyone besides police had fatally shot 80-year-old Issac Singletary on his own Jacksonville property, they'd be charged with murder and in jail awaiting justice, his family said Friday.

Standing on the front lawn of the Westmont Street property where police fired four shots that killed Singletary six months ago Friday during an undercover drug operation, some local leaders along with the family's lawyers demanded that the police officers be held accountable.

Singletary came outside on Jan. 27 to tell two undercover detectives he mistook for drug dealers to get off his property, "which the law said he had every right to do," lawyer Benjamin Crump said, also standing with local NAACP President Isaiah Rumlin and state Sen. Tony Hill.

Crump said Singletary's autopsy report shows police shot the man four times, including once in the back, something else that makes the family believe that authorities used excessive force.

In April, State Attorney Harry Shorstein cleared police of any criminal wrongdoing in the case, although he found some aspects of it troubling.

After one police official changed stories about whether he believed Singletary or a detective fired first, Shorstein said police actions were justified anyway since the 80-year-old man was an armed civilian who refused orders to drop his gun.

Shorstein discounted the testimony of a convicted drug dealer who said police fired first because they said he couldn't be considered "particularly credible."

But Crump said Friday he has sworn statements from four others who backed up that witness' testimony.

The Sheriff's Office police shooting review board will consider the incident Wednesday in an open public meeting.

The five-member board will make a recommendation to the sheriff about whether the officers involved in the shooting should receive more training or discipline.

Both lawmen that opened fire, detective James Narcisse and detective Donald Maynard, are expected to testify.

Hill joined Singletary's family and the NAACP on Friday in asking that the Sheriff's Office take Narcisse and Maynard off the street until the matter is resolved.

"I think we should now move to suspend them, put them on administrative leave, until we can get a more in-depth review from the state attorney," Hill said.

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