Former Savannah officer had several use of force complaints before deadly June shooting

Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - During the roughly two years Ernest Ferguson was an officer with the Savannah Police Department, he has several incidents listed on his disciplinary history like three use of force complaints.

People living in Carver Village where Saudi Lee was killed say they had been complaining about Ferguson harassing them for months prior. Ferguson shot and killed Lee on Gwinnett Street in June.

Witnesses said Lee was only walking down the street when he was killed. He was armed with a license to carry.

The Chatham County District Attorney’s Office has not made a decision on charges for Ferguson for shooting and killing Lee in June.

Ferguson’s disciplinary history obtained by WTOC investigates shows he had several use of force complaints filed before shooting and killing Lee. The Savannah Police Department has not released the details yet behind the use of force complaints.

However, during a news conference by the Racial Justice Network soon after Lee was killed, a woman talked about an incident where she claims Ferguson and his partner had a man she knew barricaded against the wall of the convenience store near where Lee was killed. She says she tried to step in.

“As I approached him, I asked what was going on and he was so anyway. He pointed his mace in my face.”

She says that happened in April. Ferguson’s disciplinary history shows use of force complaint on April 22.

The disciplinary history also has a use of force incident on June 6. On that same day, 911 dispatch records show Ferguson was called to the convenience store near where Lee was killed because people were loitering outside the store.

On June 6, no police report was filed. Lee was killed not even three weeks later.

Records also show Ferguson didn’t turn on his body camera when necessary three times. Body cam footage from March 18 shows he turned the camera on too late. He was pulling someone over for a traffic stop on Magazine Avenue and Gwinnett Street, which is about a block away from where Lee was killed.

Ferguson was also arrested for DUI in September.

The Savannah Police Department has fired Ferguson. According to the department, it was for reasons unrelated to the shooting of Lee.

Ernest Ferguson Disciplinary Report
Ernest Ferguson Disciplinary Report(Savannah Police Department)