‘He was just walking’: Family of man shot and killed by SPD officer wants answers

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 4:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For the first time, the family of a man that was shot and killed by a Savannah Police Officer speaks out.

The shooting happened three weeks ago in Carver Village right near Gwinnett Street and Crosby Street.

The GBI says Saudi Lee was walking in the middle of the street when an officer went up to him. After showing his wallet and saying he had a permit to carry, state agents say he pulled his weapon and officers shot him after a short chase.

Body camera footage is not available yet since this is an ongoing investigation.

Lee’s family says he never pulled a gun and the officer has been harassing people in the neighborhood for a while.

“He was just walking down the street,” said Lee’s uncle, Timothy Lee.

That’s all the uncle of Saudi known as “Spitta” Lee says he was doing before Savannah Police officer Officer Ernest Ferguson shot and killed him.

His uncle says he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

“He was walking on this side of the street and he was crossing to get on the sidewalk when he swung the car around in front of him and shot him.”

Disputing the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s claim that Lee pulled a gun before running...

“He was intelligent enough to know better not to do that.”

Spitta has the community calling for justice and transparency.

“It’s not against the law to be a Black man and have a gun. It’s not and shouldn’t be a death sentence for a Black man,” said Racial Justice Worker, Alan Mainor.

And several neighbors gave examples of Officer Ferguson bothering people in the area for a long time.

“Harrasing us, they would stop my friend’s son...oh we got a description of a guy in an army fatigue.”

“Your window tint too dark.”

While advocates and family grieve and remember him...

“We’re going through the loss of missing him. Missing him, loving him, and seeing him everyday.”

“This coward took our friend from us. This coward took our son from us. This coward took our nephew from us. This coward took our cousin from us,” said Mainor.

They say it’s time to see what exactly happened.

“We need some answers. We need to know what’s going on. We need to see the video.”

“We going through the loss of missing him...from missing him, loving him and seeing him everyday you know and here’s this man on leave of pay. He shouldn’t even be on leave of pay from what they already know about him. He should be locked up from what I understand,” said Lee.

Officer Ferguson has not been charged, he’s on paid leave.

Reverend Alan Mainor with the Racial Justice Network says they are marching for justice this Saturday from the neighborhood where he was killed to city hall.

WTOC reached out to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Tuesday afternoon. They say there are no updates to report.

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