A coalition of African American clergy met at Miracle Missionary Baptist Church to tell people they are not giving up in their pursuit of justice.
Pastor Melvin Erwin of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Goodwater, AL started the press conference by stating, "We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep sorrow over the recent tragic loss of Emerson Crayton Junior."
According to police reports, 21 year old Emerson Crayton, Jr. was fatally shot by a police officer shortly after midnight on Saturday, March 8. It happened outside this Huddle House restaurant near U.S. Highway 280 in Alex City. According to Alex City Police, two men were fighting when they arrived. They say one of the men tried to run over a police officer. That's when the police officer shot him. He later died at a Birmingham hospital.
But these pastors and family members of Crayton believe there is more to the report than just that.
"There is some grave concern in our community especially in our youth. We want them to know that we lead you Sunday by Sunday, week by week, day by day. We are here for you. Our Father sees all theses things that are going on, and we're here to be that spiritual leadership," said Erwin.
"I feel like the way it happened the officer could have did something a little more preventative then taking his life," said the victim's brother, Mardracus Russell.
As a result of the concerns, this group of pastors came together as the "Concerned
African-American clergy of Tallapoosa and Coosa Counties."
They plan to develop proposals and sit down with law enforcement and elected officials to prevent this incident from happening again.
"We're not going to just sit back and just forget about it. It happened. We want to make sure we exercise our rights as citizens," said Russell.
"Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, we must remain committed to a calm and peaceful response," said Erwin.
The ABI will continue to investigate.