Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Family Seeks New Probe in Taser Case; Harvard Professor Says He Will Ask for Civil Rights Review in St. Johns Arrest Death

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Family Seeks New Probe in Taser Case; Harvard Professor Says He Will Ask for Civil Rights Review in St. Johns Arrest Death

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAWNA SUNDIN, The Times-Union

ST. AUGUSTINE -- The death of Lewis Sanks King shortly after his arrest this month was just the latest act of brutality St. Johns County law enforcement officers have inflicted on African-Americans, a group of black community leaders and a leading civil rights attorney said Tuesday.

King's family organized a news conference to announce Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree has joined its legal team.

"We are dedicated completely to ensuring this family receives justice in this case," Ogletree said. "We know too well these events are not isolated."

As "Exhibit A," he pointed to Marshall Burns, who has been paralyzed since his November 2001 arrest by St. Augustine police officers. Burns, who is black, received $2.5 million under a settlement with the city.

Ogletree said many other African-Americans have said law enforcement officers in St. Johns County have treated them unfairly. He plans to ask the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for an investigation into police misconduct in St. Augustine and also is going to talk with the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Richard Burton, chairman of the NAACP Prisoners Rights Committee, was at the news conference.

"We want to be treated like ordinary, everyday citizens," Ogletree said. "We are very confident that justice will eventually prevail."

Ogletree was part of the team that represented Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and he has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the survivors of the Tulsa, Okla., race riot of 1921.

Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, said he's written a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate King's death.

The FBI is already investigating King's death because of a request from St. Johns County Sheriff Neil Perry. But Ogletree said they need fresh people so the same excuses aren't given and so racial profiling in St. Augustine stops.

His words were greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation from a crowd of about 100 people in New Mount Moriah Christian Ministry church in West Augustine near where King was arrested. …

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