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Okaloosa NAACP seeking justice in shooting death of Airman Roger Fortson

The Okaloosa County Branch of the NAACP and the Florida State Conference are calling for swift action and transparency in the investigation of the shooting death of Senior Airman Roger Fortson […]

The Okaloosa County Branch of the NAACP and the Florida State Conference are calling for swift action and transparency in the investigation of the shooting death of Senior Airman Roger Fortson by an Okaloosa County Sheriff Deputy on May 3, 2024.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Airman Fortson, who by all accounts was an American hero,” said Sabu Williams, President of the Okaloosa County Branch NAACP. “I am grateful to have met his mother and other family members and express the condolences of our community to them personally.”

Williams also commented on the body cam footage of the incident, saying, “after viewing the body cam video it is abundantly clear the deputy who was responding to a simple disturbance call, had no justifiable reason to shoot Airman Fortson. The fact is, no disturbance was taking place. Yet, in less than four seconds after Airman Fortson opened the door, the deputy opened fire and he killed Airman Fortson.”

In light of this incident, the Okaloosa County Branch NAACP and the Florida State Conference NAACP are demanding the following:

  • A full, independent and transparent investigation of the killing of Senior Airman Fortson be conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • The United States Department of Justice conduct a full and transparent investigation into the killing of Airman Fortson.
  • All related body cam footage, audio, and digital communications, including any 911 calls be released publicly​.
  • The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s office release the disciplinary records of the officer involved in the killing of Airman Roger Fortson.
  • A series of community engagement sessions be held with the County Sheriff’s office.
  • Access to review reports on the use of force, use of lethal force complaints, disciplinary actions, termination records, and lawsuits connected to the Okaloosa County Sheriff within the past 10 years.
  • All Police Departments in the State of Florida commit to training its officers in methods of de-escalation and other alternatives to the use of force.

The local, state, and national NAACP organizations say they remain engaged in the case and are in contact with multiple entities around the country. They believe that justice for the Fortson family begins with the arrest and formal filing of felony charges against the officer involved in the shooting death of Airman Roger Fortson.

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