State NAACP involved in Moultrie cop-involved shooting - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State NAACP involved in Moultrie cop-involved shooting

November 26, 2006

Moultrie - - Family members of the 43 year old man shot and killed by a Moultrie Police Officer laid their loved one's body to rest Saturday.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is still looking into whether the officer made the right decision to fatally shoot the convenience store worker, but family members have called on a national organization to do some investigating of its own.

Ruby Dean Banks turned 69 this month. Little did she know, five days after her birthday her own son would be shot and killed by a policeman. 

Moultrie Police Officer Srgt. Bruce Hamm shot Willie Banks at a convenience store while serving a bench warrant. Officers say Banks pulled out a pocket knife so they had to fight back.

"We think this is a part of officers making up a reason to justify why they shot an unarmed man. We're equally concerned that this man was mentally challenged and that he was shot by officers," says Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose. 

Family members called on state NAACP to help ensure justice.

"He needs to get the right treatment, don't sugar coat it. Don't dress it up. I mean, plain out give him what he deserves. If they know that it's wrong, wrong is wrong," says two of Banks' nieces, Donna and Cherri Gamble.

Srgt. Bruce Hamm also fired fatal shots at another man in 1997 during a shootout at a Subway Restaurant. The man shooting at officer Hamm was killed.

Banks' mother remembers the day.

"I said but if he get by with that, he go kill another mother's son, but I didn't know it was going to be mine. I didn't know it was going to be my son, but it was," says Ruby Dean Banks.

State NAACP leaders are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

"Members in that community don't buy either the argument that these officers lives were in danger," DuBose says.

One day after their loved one's burial, family members are staying strong.

"Because I got God on my side and when you got God, that's all you need. If God is for you, who could ever be against you," Banks' nieces said.

Their prayers provide peace while they wait for definite answers.

Sgt. Hamm and two other officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting.

GBI is still investigating the incident.

State NAACP leaders plan to hold a peace rally in Moultrie next month.

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