Group Meets To Seek Justice For All - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Group Meets To Seek Justice For All

This sign says it all.

But hundreds of people filled the Good Deeds Community Center not only seeking what they call Justice for Jessie, but justice for anyone who has allegedly suffered under the hands of those who are meant to protect.

"You got to be your brother's keeper. You cannot be afraid to come forward and testify on behalf of another human being," said WJZD owner Rip Daniels. 

And those who say they have witnessed abuse by law enforcement or who say they have been abused themselves were allowed to come forward and give statements to volunteer attorneys.

"Silence gives consent. People take advantage of us. People will disrespect us if we simply say nothing," said one local minister.

Many people had the opportunity to be heard.

There were volunteers on hand to help citizens register to vote, or to regain their voting rights through expunging records.

There was also a petition calling for Governor Barbour to remove Sheriff George Payne from office.

300 people signed the petition within 3 hours.

"The community has been asleep. And the death of Jessie Williams has sparked a commitment to be proactive. The likes of which I've not seen in many years. I think that this was just the breaking point for the community, and rather than have people lash out, I think people were just ready for a proactive, lawful means to express unity in the community," said Gulfport NAACP president Felicia Dunn Burkes.

And that unity was a welcomed sight to Williams' family attorney Michael Crosby.

"Mr. Williams, I'm gonna advise you that you have the right to remain silent. But you know what?On behalf of Jessie, I'm going to hereby waive that right to remain silent. We all are going to waive that right to remain silent," said Crosby.

Dunn-Burkes says about 28-thousand signatures are needed, so the petition for the governor to remove Payne from office will continue to circulate throughout the commmunity.

By Karla Redditte

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