SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The city of Sacramento is dealing with another police shooting. Jeremy Southern, 22, was shot and killed after allegedly raising a gun at officers near Sacramento State this week.
Law enforcement has been under a microscope recently, but so have demonstrators calling for change.
While no one organization or group can speak for the entire Black community, there are differing opinions on how the community approaches these tough discussions.
“We know in the tensions that are in our community and nationally, one thing, one opportunity, one shooting could take us over the edge,” local community activist and founder of Voice of the Youth, Berry Accius, said.
Two days after Southern was shot by police, Accius said transparency is required from everyone.
“It’s not about criminalizing this young man. But it is being transparent and I think if we keep yelling and asking police to be transparent, we got to be this transparent as well,” he said.
Video obtained by CBS13 shows Southern with a gun in his hand moments before he was shot. Sacramento police say he matched a suspect involved in a shooting last week with a neck tattoo.
As we are having these difficult conversations, Accuis believes there needs to be discretion of who has the full backing in the community.
“This is not saying that young man deserved to die,” he explained. “So we can’t create this idea that it was this unarmed Black person that was walking down a college campus, or in these apartments, and he just got shot by reckless police officers. This is reckless on our end.”
Records show Southern was on The Megan’s Law list, convicted of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 in 2016.
“We do not work on a scale of politics of respectability. We do not work on a scale of 1-10 on who is more of a villain and who is more of an angel or saint,” said Tanya Faison with Black Lives Matter Sacramento.
Faison believes regardless of any crimes, Southern should be alive to face the consequences.
“We do fight for all Black people. If he was alive and we found out some of these things and say they were true, then we would want accountability,” said Faison.
Both activist agree, more de-escalation is needed in these cases involving Black individuals is needed.
“A police officer’s job is not to determine someone’s guilt or if they should be killed. Their job is to de-escalate and detain and to take control of the situation and they have so many tools at their hands that they can use to do it in a non-lethal form,” she said.
A vigil was held for Southern on Thursday night. After being allowed to attend, CBS13 was asked to leave.