Chief admits statements made after fatal officer-involved shooti - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Chief admits statements made after fatal officer-involved shooting were false

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ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) -

More than a month after an officer-involved shooting left a man dead in Alex City, the city's police chief has acknowledged that a statement made by a police department spokesperson after the shooting was false.

Looking back at the early morning March 8 shooting, there were conflicting reports right from the start concerning the events leading up to it.

According to a witness we interviewed after the shooting, 21-year-old Emerson Crayton was trying to leave Huddle House after having a problem with employees when an officer was flagged down by a worker.

"I guess the police felt like he was trying to hurt somebody you know or whatever, but he wasn't," the witness told WSFA 12 News.

The Alexander City Police Department told a different story then, saying an officer went to the Huddle House after a report of two men fighting. When the officer approached them, one of the men ran to his vehicle, police said.

Police said Crayton started to leave and that he tried to run over the officer. The officer, fearing for his life, shot and killed Crayton, according to police.

NAACP Member and Attorney Eric Hutchins says the truth must come out now regarding the events that led up to the shooting.

"A spokesperson with the Alex City Police Department stated they responded to a fight between two men in the Huddle House. That statement is misleading or is inaccurate," Hutchins said.

Thursday police Chief Willie Robinson acknowledged that statement about the police responding to a fight was false. According to the chief, the police report states an officer was already in the vicinity of the restaurant when an employee waved down the officer.

"Recklessly so or purposely so, it makes it look as though the shooting was a result of them being in harms way as a result of two men fighting; no physical altercation whatsoever and Emerson Crayton, Jr. did not have a weapon on him. The Alex City Police Department had more than a month to clarify that statement. We would like for this investigation to be fair and as objective as possible," Hutchins said.

The chief read WSFA 12 News Reporter Tametria Conner the rest of the police report saying:

"The officer saw Mr. Crayton jump in his vehicle to leave because the owner had identified him as the cause of the disturbance inside the Huddle House. The officer went to Crayton's vehicle to try and talk to him and that's when he put the car in reverse and the officer ended up in front of the Crayton's car. According to the police report, that's when Mr. Crayton tried to run over the officer and the officer fired the shot."

The officer remains on paid leave.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation, which is routine.

In response to this tragedy, area clergy have been attempting to address the unrest felt by some members of the community.

The Concerned African-American Clergy of Tallapoosa and Coosa counties will hold a news conference Friday night to discuss their efforts to address the community unrest since the shooting.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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