HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Sharpton Plans To Visit Columbus Over Shooting
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Dec 2003
Source: Ledger-Enquirer (GA)
Copyright: 2003 Ledger-Enquirer
Author: Allison Kennedy
Bookmark: (Racial Issues)


Local NAN leader says presidential candidate coming within 10 days

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a national civil rights leader and presidential
candidate, is heading to Columbus.

He's accepted an invitation to visit the area sometime in the next 10 days,
a National Action Network representative said Wednesday during a news
conference. The NAN, headed locally and statewide by Columbus' A.D. Carter,
is the activist organization Sharpton heads nationally.

Sharpton is expected to address last week's shooting death of Kenneth B.
Walker, a black Columbus resident whose funeral was Tuesday.

"A lot of people feel we need some national presence. This issue is not
isolated in the country," Carter said, speaking at Spirit Filled Ministries.

Walker and three friends were riding in a gray GMC Yukon along I-185 on Dec.
10 when they were stopped by officers with the Metro Narcotics Task Force
Agency and the sheriff's department, according to official accounts.

Acting on a tip from an informant that a Yukon would be carrying armed men
from Miami, deputies and agents ordered the men to exit the vehicle. Walker
was shot in the head after authorities say he failed to comply with the
deputy's commands.

Authorities later learned that none of the men was armed and none was in
possession of drugs. The three other passengers in the Yukon were questioned
by authorities and released. Sheriff Ralph Johnson said there was no
information that Walker had been involved in any kind of criminal activity.

Johnson has refused to release the name of the deputy involved in the
shooting, citing it as part of the investigation. The deputy, an officer
with more than 18 years of service, has been suspended from the department.

The shooting is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a preliminary inquiry.

Carter said Wednesday that Sharpton, who will let local NAN officials know
Friday the exact date of his visit, is not coming to Columbus "to agitate...
. First of all, African-Americans are intelligent people. We don't have to
express ourselves using violence."

Carter, 27, said Sharpton had already been invited some months ago to make a
campaign stop in Columbus.

The Rev. Wayne Baker, of Spirit Filled, led a community rally Monday at the
Columbus Government Center. He is also the president of the
Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a group of black clergy. At the
rally, he called on white clergy to get involved in what many see as a
tragic injustice to an innocent man.

Carter, a member of Spirit Filled, praised Baker for his leadership.

"I am extremely proud of him," Carter said. Baker offered no additional
comment Wednesday about the possibility of Sharpton's visit.

The local Rainbow PUSH Coalition has asked its national president, Jesse
Jackson, to come to Columbus. It is not known yet whether he will visit.
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