Conflicting Reports By Different News Agencies and The Dover Police Dept. Causes Anger in Dover’s Black Community.
After reading conflicting reports about the shooting of Terrance Fletcher 21, by Dover police on the 100 block of South New Street on August 28, I decided to attend an open meeting of community residents and leaders at 6pm Saturday to get closer to the real story of what happened.
According of the Dover Police media release Friday afternoon:
However, at the community meeting I attended at the Center of Faith, Church of God Led by Apostle Marion Lott, I received much different information from two eye witnesses that spoke of the incident at the open meeting and gave details to me later in interviews that differ from the police report, concerning Mr. Fletcher’s possession of a gun.
At approximately 1:24pm (Friday) Chief Bernat notified the mayor to inform him of shots being fired at 111 South Ne, the details are still coming in however, a perpetrator confronted two Dover officers with a handgun and was told to put the gun down and he did not comply. One of the officers fired several shots. Subject has now been transported to Bayhealth condition is unknown at this time. Chief Bernat, Dep Chief Mailey and the Mayor were all on scene shortly after the event.
There is currently some disorderly conduct taking place, please do not go near the area, so the police department can conduct their duties and responsibilities as necessary. When more details become available we will make you aware.
New Street resident Regina Seville spoke to the group stating, she was with Mr. Fletcher and he was not is possession of a gun when he started running from Dover police. “He did not have a gun at all,” said Seville adamantly several times. After Seville’s eyewitness account of the incident a man stood up and said the police yelled, “here he comes, shoot him, shoot him. He didn’t even tell him to stop.”
Another New Street resident, Regina Morris, not only stated Mr. Fletcher did not have a gun, while speaking to the crowd but to me later in a brief private interview. I don’t believe either woman was lying and this raises the question of whether this gun the police claimed was thrown down by Fletcher, was an attempt by the police to justify the shooting by looking for a gun one of them had just thrown down.
A thorough investigation needs to be made by an outside agency, not the Dover Police or the Delaware State Police, but a truly unbiased agency with no dog in the race. The Dover police never stated they thought they were in danger of being shot or harmed by Fletcher. As I drove down New Street in Dover, traveling to the meeting the streets were filled with angry non-violent people, with one man standing up with his fist in the air shouting, “yes we’re ready.” This is clearly a powder keg ready for the slightest spark to set it off.
Many residents of the area also bitterly complained that an overwhelming response by many different police forces, filling the streets was totally unnecessary. They believed the size of the police response was unjustified and the arrests for disorderly conduct were out of line.
I would suggest the Dover Police Dept ascertain whether Mr. Flectcher’s fingerprints are on this alleged gun or not. I don’t want what happened in Ferguson MO. to happen in Dover Delaware. This shooting stinks to high heaven with different accounts that don’t add up.
The larger question is, are the Dover Police targeting this area simply because it is in downtown Dover, close to the General Assembly and the seat of Delaware’s power structure? Citizens spoke of, South New Street being a targeted area because of their poverty and ethnicity. They spoke of the same officer coming back night after night, threatening and harassing the neighborhood. There were cries at the meeting to have this officer moved to another patrol area. This is what is called “Institutional Racism.”
This community only wants to form committees to help their people rise above the racism and poverty. It was clear to me that a serious problem exists here in the Dover power structure and in the Dover Police Dept. This problem will not go away and needs to be addressed.