AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Community members held a protest outside of the Augusta Judicial Center in Richmond County. They joined families in calling for a Superior Court judge to be removed from two cases after rulings they claim were unfair.
There are actually two different families who showed up with a message at the courthouse. They both want justice.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with one of those families, the sister of Ahmad Popal. She said, “Our sadness, our tears, everything is like how did this happen? How can a killer be out on low bond?”
It’s the question protesters supporting the family of Ahmad Samim Popal want to know. How can an Augusta man be killed and the suspect bond out less than two weeks later at $4,000?
“When I saw the mugshot of that person having that smirk on his face, that told us that he would be out soon,” Farmer said.
That man is Terrence Wayne Cumber. The 24-year-old was arrested and charged with murder after Popal was shot and killed at The Scene Nightclub, downtown on Broad, during the early morning hours of June 21.
District Attorney Natalie Paine said she requested no bond in the case and Judge Craig arbitrarily set bond at $4,000, a move she said is rare for people normally charged with murder.
NewsChannel 6 received the order granting Cumber bond. Special Conditions include the bond can be a signature bond.
Now, Popal’s sisters and others demand that Judge Craig be removed from the case.
Close family friend Vanessa Udom shared her thoughts as well. She added, “He paid $400 to go home and get in his bed and my brother is in the grave.”
Brandi Wilson, another close friend who saw Popal as a brother also shared her thoughts. Wilson and Udom said they were both with Popal the day he died, but were not at The Scene. They describe Popal as having nothing but joy in his heart and said he was willing to give others the shirt off of his back.
Udom created a petition for supporters to sign calling for Judge Craig to recuse himself.
“To give somebody $4,000 for a murder charge is a slap on the wrist when you got men out here whose drug charges are getting $25,000, $500,000 for non violent charges. As a Caucasian woman it bothers me that in 2020 we still see race.”
“Both of them are being buried. Ahmad is already buried in the ground. Emmanuel is being buried alive,” Bridget Ivey, mother of Emmanuel Ivey Jr. told us.
Joining forces with Popal protesters were the mother of Emmanuel Ivey Jr. and other supporters. They say on July 2, 45 minutes prior to Cumber’s shocking bond hearing, Judge Craig denied bond for Bridget Ivey’s 16-year-old son. She said her son did not kill anyone.
“My son has been threatened,” Ivey said. “His life has been threatened over multiple times by a 21-year-old. In November, I felt like my son stood his ground and he took action when they came to our home.”
NewsChannel 6 learned that neither Cumber or Ivey have been indicted. But Bridget Ivey said her son is the victim who does not deserve to still be in jail. And they have the threats on video, prior to him shooting two of the three men who showed up at the Ivey home.
“Judge Danny Craig looked me in my eyes and everything that I’m telling you I told him,” Ivey said. “I explained to him that my son is 16. I explained to him that my son never got in trouble. I explained to him that my son was a student athlete. I explained to him that my son has received all Bs while in jail.” She added that he is also going to the 11th grade.
Abdullah Jaber with CAIR Georgia said he showed up from Atlanta to show support as one of the largest Muslim civil rights groups.
“Whether it’s Ahmad Popal or Ahmaud Arbery, there seems to be a double standard of justice when it comes that the victims are people of color. We see that people of color get more severe sentences than when the perpetrator is white,” Jaber said.
After speaking with family members for both Popal and Ivey and supporters as well, we went to Judge Danny Craig’s office for a response. He told us that judges are not allowed to speak on pending investigations. We will continue to follow both stories.
Photojournalist: Will Baker