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Did police use excessive force?

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November 19, 2006

Moultrie - - Was a Moultrie police officer using excessive force when he shot and killed a convenience store worker Thursday night or was he just doing his job?

Police officers aren't saying much, but many people who live in Moultrie have a whole lot to say about the shooting.

At the One Stop Chevron Convenience store, things just aren't the same.

"He was a sweet person. Yes, Lord. It seem so quiet here without him,"

Moultrie Police Sergeant Bruce Hamm fatally shot 43 year old Willie Banks while trying to arrest him Thursday night for failing to appear in court.

Police say when they arrived, Banks pulled a knife.

"That was a box cutter he used to open boxes. He had that knife on him all the time to do his job and he asked Willie Banks to give him the knife and that's what Willie Banks was doing," says Former City Councilman AlMonte Alderman.

People who frequent the convenience store say Banks was a friendly guy and a hard worker.

"Did he look like a troublemaker? No he didn't. When you come up here, he just do his job and that's it," says customer Chris Jones.

Many are questioning if officers used their best judgement.

"Folks get shot, killed, robbed, they don't do nothing to them but then you got folks like this boy here, he aint never bothered nobody," says customer Troy Willeby.

Officers at the police department wouldn't comment about the situation when we stopped by Sunday.

A Moultrie ex-cop who says she worked with the officer who killed Banks for four years. had this to say, "Police do have a tendency to be bad sometimes and you never know which one you're getting."

Only time will tell if the fatal shooting was justified.  

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is currently looking into the shooting. The officers involved are on administrative leave.

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