Citizens demand more police

By Ed Brock

The killing of a grocery store clerk in Shirley Davis' north Clayton County neighborhood has Davis and her fellow citizens very upset.

Davis came to Tuesday night's Clayton County Board of Commissioners meeting with a petition that she said contained about 1,500 signatures. Davis said she started gathering the signatures on Friday, shortly after 55-year-old Sun Foods Market clerk Noorali S. Ali was found shot to death in the store at about 8:15 a.m.

"We're asking for more policemen and better pay for the police to get them to stay in this county," Davis said. "We're going to have to do better. If (the commission) does not give us what we want we're going to bring the people down here. They don't want that."

Commission Chairman Crandle Bray said the commission is looking at increasing salaries for public safety personnel, including police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, in the next county budget due to go into effect on July 1.

"We are a little low, that's why we're going to raise (salaries) by about five percent," Bray told Davis. "We try to keep up with the market."

Davis told Bray that if the county doesn't pay its police officers enough they will desert the county and morale in the police department will go down. Bray said the morale in the police department is high.

Bray said the average starting salary for a police officer is $27,000 to $28,000. Some time ago the county did a study on its police salaries, Commissioner Virginia Gray said.

"I initiated that study to get the police on a comparable level with police in surrounding counties," Gray said. "But budget restraints sometimes keep us from doing what we would like to do."

Meanwhile, police are still looking for two suspects in connection with Ali's killing.

A vendor for the store on Riverdale Road just south of Interstate 285 found Ali's body shortly after the store opened at 8 a.m.

Money was taken from the cash register and police believe he was shot during a robbery.

The suspects are described as a black male with a dark complexion, 21 to 25 years old, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall, wearing a white shirt and light-colored blue jeans; and a black male with a medium complexion in his 30s with a stocky build.

Davis, who lives near the Sun Foods Market, said previously that there had been other attacks on storeowners in the area.

During a robbery that occurred at about 10:20 p.m. Jan. 11 two men pistol-whipped and shot 46-year-old Donnie Olusegun Aisida, the owner of the Exxon gas station a few doors down from Sun Foods, according to a Clayton County Police Department report.

A clerk at the gas station said Aisida is still recovering from his injuries.