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Monday, July 13, 2020

Activists call for justice for drowned Black teen Elijah Weatherspoon

An online petition highlights the conflicting witness reports given to police on the day of teenager’s disappearance.

Thousands have signed a petition calling for an investigation into the death of a Black teen who died after a boating trip with his white friends in South Carolina.

The body of Elijah (Nicky) Weatherspoon, an 18-year-old Black and Puerto Rican male, was found Sunday (June 28), several days after the fateful boat outing in Mount Pleasant. Not much is known about what led to his death, and his family claim they have received conflicting reports about what went down, according to heavy.com.

“At this time, the cause of death is pending awaiting autopsy,” said Deputy Coroner Elizabeth Dobbins, according to Live 5 News

Read More: Naya Rivera’s body found in California lake 5 days after disappearance

The family is giving the side-eye to witness statements that Weatherspoon entered the water from the boat and never resurfaced. 

An online petition highlights the contradictory testimonies given to police on the day of his disappearance. The petition reads in part:

The events leading up to his death are unclear and are being treated as if he was just another black man who couldn’t swim and drowned. When, in fact, he can swim. The people who were with him have stories that do not match up.

He fell off the boat and hit his head on a rock.

He fell off the boat and his friend tried to save him and couldn’t.

He jumped off the boat himself and refused to get back in and drowned.

Those are just some of the circumstances his family has been told. The police will not investigate further and the local news is no longer reporting on Elijah. 

At the time of this report, more than 205,000 people have signed the petition calling for authorities to launch an investigation into Weatherspoon’s death. 

Read More: The release of new bodycam footage reopens 2017 death of Black man in police custody

The petition urges the public to help “keep his case open and properly investigated.”

“Do not let Elijah’s case gather dust and be ignored,” the petition states.

According to the petition, there were seven other people were on the boat with Weatherspoon and each have been interviewed by law enforcement.

A separate petition claims Mount Pleasant police refuse to investigate further, citing race as the main factor for their indifference. 

“This is clearly more than a[n] accident. Nicky deserves justice, and so does his family,” the petition read. “The family believes that because Nicky was Black and everyone else was white they are not trying to investigate. An officer questioned as to ‘Why was Nicky on this side of town (Mount Pleasant)? Why wasn’t he on his side of town?’ Regardless of what side of town he was on, a crime was committed and we seek equal justice.”

One online petition alleges that his death was the result of foul play. 

“What we’ve found out so far, the facts seem to indicate, that a young man went off the back of the boat into the water,” said Captain Robert McCullough of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). “One of the other boys in the boat went in after him, made contact, but could not get him out.”

He added, “If anything comes up if there’s any foul play or anything that like that, we will pursue it the end… if anything comes up. I will say this too, accidents happen.”

To sign the petition, click here.

The post Activists call for justice for drowned Black teen Elijah Weatherspoon appeared first on TheGrio.



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