SANDERSVILLE, Ga. (WJBF) – The Washington County community filled the courthouse square to remember the life of one man killed three years ago.
“A judge granted three officers immunity for tasing him 11 times on the side of the road because he requested water,” said Annie Gilbert-Gibbons, the niece of Eurie Lee Martin.
She shared that it was nothing but pain for the family as they reflect on what happened to the 58-year-old July 7, 2017. And less than a year after all three deputies involved received immunity, protesters marched through Sandersville for justice.
“It’s a lot being covered up so we just want everything to come to light,” said Jrametries Kirksay, a protester. “We want this family to have peace. We want everybody to be happy in this community and feel safe if you’re taking a walk. If you want water we want you to feel safe asking for water. You’re not a threat just because you black and you want water.”
Boldly wearing an image of a still shot of the cell phone footage captured that day, Jerametries Kirksay and Terry Frazier told NewsChannel 6 they remember the day Martin took a walk down Deepstep Road, approached a homeowner for water on a hot day only to have that man contact law enforcement.
Martin’s niece, Annie Gilbert-Gibbons shared that story before the walk, telling the community the deputies were wrong about being attacked and instead her uncle was a kind man in life.
“He followed God’s commandments. Love everyone and help those in need,” she said.
The police led march left the courthouse and went to McDonalds and back. And for those present, it was to offer support and demand that the truth of the incident be revealed. It’s a death that has truly changed the relationship between those who took an oath to serve and protect and the people who live and work in Washington County.
Family friend Terry Frazier shared, “I’d rather do my own policing than call them.”
“You feel a lot safer because you never know what they’re going to do when they get there,” Kirksay added.
Local pastor Rev. Daniel Thomas said of the judge’s decision last November, “Based on that immunity that points to that there is systemic racism in our criminal justice system and it’s right here.”
And though the day was solemn for loved ones of Eurie Lee Martin, they were grateful.
“I’m happy because it’s been a long time coming,” Gilbert-Gibbons said. It’s been a long time coming and it feels good to know that we’re not just out here fighting alone.”
The family said the case is not over. It will be heard before the state’s supreme court in August.
Photojournalist: Will Baker