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Family, civil rights group seek answers in shooting

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A local civil rights organization is holding a prayer vigil and protest in memory of a Jonesboro man killed by Clayton County Sheriff's deputies four months ago.

Representatives from New Order, a 16-year-old Atlanta-area civil rights group, and members of the family of David Nave Jr., believe "the truth has not yet come out" about his Nov. 27, shooting death.

"[The authorities] are hoping that the general public will forget," said Daldred Mason, a spokesman for New Order. "We don't want to allow the general public to forget. This is not a time to forget. It's a time to forgive, and in forgiving we have to learn how to do something to cause change and we have to hold them accountable."

Nave, 19, was shot to death after allegedly setting his mother's apartment on fire, creating a disturbance at a BP gas station and waving a knife at deputies. Reportedly suffering from mental illness, the man allegedly broke glass and slashed car tires before the deputies shot and killed him at an abandoned and boarded-up gas station on Tara Boulevard.

The incident is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Sheriff Victor Hill did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. The sheriff turned the case over to the GBI for investigation.

The GBI regularly investigates officer-involved shootings at the request of the law enforcement agency involved. When finished, the file is turned over to the local district attorney for review.

GBI spokesman John Bankhead said the state agency acts to assist with an independent investigation and "cannot brief people's family with what we've found."

The Nave investigation will be finished next week, Bankhead said, and sent to the Clayton County District Attorney's Office.

Nave's family and friends contend Nave was shot in the back, and say their questions about the shooting remain unanswered. Their questions include the way Nave was shot, the way the wounded man was treated, the way evidence was handled and why the family hasn't received any information about the investigation.

"I just want to know exactly what's going on with the investigation," said Janice Williams, Nave's mother. "I just want to know. I need answers ... I don't think any of the procedures were done properly. I want to know why an ambulance never came for my son. I want to know why his body lay there for so long. I want to get all the facts and be able to review the evidence."

Williams said she feels the sheriff's office mischaracterized and misjudged her only son and youngest child.

Nave was a loving and respectful, she said, and was guided by pastor Creflo A. Dollar (of World Changers Church International) to dedicate his life to God. "My son lived for God," Williams said. "He had given his life to God ... He wanted to be a minister and he was interested in going to ministry school."

District Attorney Jewel Scott has not yet seen the case, but has regularly expressed concerns about the violent deaths of young people in the county and about the way the mentally ill are handled by the criminal justice system. In most officer-involved shootings, as a matter of course, she has had the cases reviewed by a grand jury.

"I expect that we will in that particular case," she said. "I do know that in that particular case I went to the scene, because I had some questions."

The prayer vigil and protest is scheduled to be held at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center, 9151 Tara Boulevard, on Saturday at 4 p.m.