Some in Fort Pierce want more answers about shooting

Images from a special Fort Pierce City Commission meeting called by Commissioner Reggie Sessions on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at Fort Pierce City Hall. The meeting was held in light of the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Demarcus Semer by Fort Pierce police over the weekend. (XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)


Demarcus Semer

By Will Greenlee of TCPalm

FORT PIERCE — The anonymity of two Fort Pierce police officers involved in last weekend’s fatal shooting of a city resident isn’t sitting well with some community leaders and neighbors.

Nor is a City Commission decision Wednesday night to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to evaluate the local investigation, rather than have the agency take it over.

Jeremiah Minatee, 25, of Fort Pierce, was exiting a store on Avenue D on Thursday and weighed in.

He wants more details, including the officers’ names, before the investigation goes to a grand jury. Minatee said that might get more people to be more forthcoming about information.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl on Wednesday said the names would not be released until the investigation is complete and a grand jury meets. State Attorney Bruce Colton’s office and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office are conducting separate investigations and cooperating with each other.

Bakkedahl said releasing the names could influence witness testimony, and he also mentioned threats on the officers’ lives.

The shooting, in which two officers fired their weapons, happened after police tried to stop Demarcus Semer’s vehicle on North 19th Street about 11:55 p.m. April 23, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate the shooting by Fort Pierce police.

Sheriff Ken Mascara has said that at some point, Semer, 21, attempted to flee in his car and in doing so, ran over one of the officers, injuring his leg, as a second officer was getting in Semer’s car. The second officer couldn’t exit the moving car. Semer was shot outside of his vehicle and died.

“When an individual perpetrator shoots or kills a police officer, the name of the perpetrator is released within 24 hours,” Fort Pierce City Commissioner Reggie Sessions said. “However, when in this situation a police officer kills or shoots an individual, then authorities are very reluctant to release the name …”

Sessions, who is an attorney, said prosecutors complain about a lack of people volunteering information.

“Guess what, Mr. Prosecutor, if you let us know who we’re prosecuting, then perhaps we can give you that information,” he said.

On Facebook, people have been sharing a photograph of a Fort Pierce police officer who may or may not have been involved in the shooting. The caption on the photo refers to the officer as “the murderer.” At least two shares include death threats, saying to shoot and kill the officer.

Sylvester Davis, 32, of Fort Pierce decried information not being released about the shooting.

“This (Semer) was a good kid,” said Davis, whose cousin played high school football at Fort Pierce Central High School with Semer.

In addressing an inquiry about the names, Bakkedahl said, “Explain to me how releasing the names couldn’t jeopardize the integrity of the investigation?

“Let’s say I give up the name of Officer X, and I’ve got a citizen who says, ‘Oh I hate that Officer X, now that I know it’s Officer X involved I’m going to go tell them I saw Officer X execute the … decedent,” he said. “That impairs my investigation.”

Dale Landry, who chairs the criminal and juvenile justice committee for the Florida state conference of the NAACP, said it was “very problematic” to withhold the names until the grand jury meets.

“That sets the stage so that the community is not aware and not given the opportunity to come forward to speak,” said Landry, who is based in Tallahassee.

“There are some lessons we should have learned in the wake of Ferguson, in the wake of Baltimore. … The community has no trust in the criminal justice system in that judicial circuit.”

Charlie Frank Matthews, a former president of the local branch of the NAACP, said prosecutors should identify the officers.

“They do it in every other major city, why not this one?” he said.

But the president of the Concerned Citizens of St. Lucie County isn’t so sure.

“I really don’t know,” said the Rev. John Lee Sr.

About 100 community members attended a meeting Thursday night at the Golden Bear Pancake House on U.S. 1 to discuss sending letters to the Justice Department, asking it to take over the case.

Three different versions of the letter, the first for longtime residents, the second for young people and the third for other citizens of Fort Pierce, were passed out at the meeting for citizens to individually sign.

Shernetrice Bryant, 25, of Fort Pierce, said Semer was her banker and that community members don’t plan to go through the State’s Attorney’s office to contact the Justice Department.

“We’re going straight to the U.S. Department of Justice,” Bryant said. “We want the Sheriff’s Office off the case.”

Community members on Thursday even discussed calling for the resignations or terminations of Fort Pierce Chief of Police Diane Hobley-Burney and City Manager Nicholas Mimms.

Oslyne Murriel, 29, of Fort Pierce, said she didn’t know Semer personally, but hearing about him being a well-rounded man that died from a police shooting was enough for her to get involved.

The Rev. Kenneth Mills Sr., president of the Lincoln Park Council of Ministers, said his group is meeting Friday to ensure the council stays involved with the needs of citizens and to help keep calm and peace.

Staff writer Nick Samuel contributed to this story.

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Fort Pierce woman charged with child abuse

Christy Taylor Briggs

By Staff Report

WOMAN CHARGED

Who: Christy Taylor Briggs, 51, who lives in the 2600 block of U.S. 1, Fort Pierce

Charges: Two counts of child neglect without great bodily harm

Crime: Deputies found Briggs, apparently intoxicated, in a dirty, urine-scented home with two small children, one in underwear and the other in a soaked diaper, according to an arrest affidavit. She was arrested Saturday night.

What’s next: Briggs will be released from the St. Lucie County Jail if she posts $5,000 in bond.

Agency: St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office

Quote: A knife was sitting out in the open in the kitchen and other hazards were present in the home, according to the affidavit.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/crime/st-lucie-county/fort-pierce-woman-charged-with-child-abuse-without-great-bodily-harm-31dafd32-3f8a-3156-e053-0100007-377839691.html

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Softball Dolphins’ title hopes end in Fort Pierce, they finish 21-8

It’s been 12 years since Marathon High School athletes made it to the state finals, when Maciek Sykut and Marek Czerwinski won singles and doubles tennis titles.

The Dolphins softball team came oh so close this year but John Carroll Catholic High School had other plans.

The Golden Rams defeated Marathon’s girls, 2-0, in the Region 4-3A championship game in Fort Pierce on Tuesday and head to the state’s Final Four. Had the score gone the other way, the Dolphins would be in the running.

“We had plenty of opportunities in the first four innings; we always had a runner on second base,” Marathon coach Kevin Freeman said. “We just couldn’t get them in.”

Marathon finished with a solid 21-8 record. John Carroll stands at 24-3.

Star Dolphin pitcher Jordan Roney was solid as usual, allowing just four hits while striking out nine. But Carroll’s Ashley Rosado was better, tossing a one-hitter. That was by Dolphin Rachel Philcox in the third inning.

Amanda Bruland had been hit by a pitch and moved up to second on a bunt. Philcox then singled to center but Bruland was tagged at home trying to score.

The teams were scoreless until the sixth inning, when Carroll broke through with its two runs.

“We played pretty well defensively. Jordan gave up just four hits, she had nine strikeouts against the No. 1 team in the state. But their pitcher, just everything was on,” Freeman said. “We’ve been hitting well but it was just one of those days. Someone had to lose, unfortunately.”

“We weren’t cocky; we were confident,” the coach said.

Marathon graduates Roney, Bruland, Sydney Konrath, Sasha Olivera, Amanda Davis and Sam Boellard, all of whom formed a solid core the past several years.

“We have eight players coming back, a good core,” Freeman said. “Most of them have been with us. They know how to win, they know what to do. They’ve learned from the seniors and hopefully they’ll carry the torch.”

As for this season, he said, “I could not be more proud of all 14 players, our coaches. And the support the community gave us was outstanding.”

Article source: http://www.keysnet.com/2016/04/30/508180/softball-dolphins-title-hopes.html

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Opinion column: Anthony Westbury: Fort Pierce is on the brink after shooting

Protesters gather outside a Fort Pierce City Commission meeting called by Commissioner Reggie Sessions on Wednesday  at Fort Pierce City Hall. The meeting was held in light of the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Demarcus Semer by Fort Pierce police April 23. (XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)

This getting downright scary.

Over the course of 25 years of living and working in Fort Pierce, I’ve never seen the city closer to a potential conflagration as it has been after the Saturday night shooting death of Demarcus Semer by Fort Pierce police.

At an emergency meeting Wednesday night, the Fort Pierce City Commission did little to ease growing tension in the city’s northwest section.

The board refused to take up Commissioner Reggie Sessions’ motion to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice demanding the investigation be taken out of the hands of St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Instead, the commission voted to send a watered-down version of such a letter, seeking to ascertain whether the situation in Fort Pierce warrants the feds’ attention. That spineless decision maddened audience members so much they abruptly stood and walked out en masse. It was hard to blame them.

“I have the utmost respect for the (Fort Pierce) Police Department,” resident Takisha Brianvil told me after the meeting. “They’ve done roll call outside my home, I’ve been in focus groups with the mayor and city manager. I’m on both sides. We just want justice and the truth.”

I heard the same plea for justice over and over as I walked among the crowd outside city hall. And I heard variations on this theme of distrust of law enforcement, whichever agency they belong to — whether they wear black, white, green or blue uniforms, it’s all the same.

Inside the commission chambers I was struck by how patient the audience was and, for the most part, how polite speakers were. People don’t seem ready to riot — but this is a volatile situation and I’m not sure how long that patience is going to last.

In reaction to a column last week, in which I called for an outside agency to take over the investigation, I was accused on social media of being a cop-hater. Not true. I have great respect for law enforcement officers in general; some have become valued acquaintances over many years.

One person asked how I’d feel if this was happening in my neighborhood. Well, it’s pretty close.

I live two miles from the site of Saturday’s shooting; closer to a mile from several other Lincoln Park trouble spots.

I’ve made a lot of friends in the northwest community over the years; I hear their frustration and feel their anger at regularly being treated as if they and their opinions don’t amount to much.

In my experience, some of those in authority have adopted a paternal attitude toward the minority population, and that any anger in Lincoln Park will dissipate if given enough time. That seems totally out of sync with recent experience in Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland and other cities. We need to learn from those places; it could easily happen here.

It seems to me that withholding all the details of the shooting could actually inflame public opinion rather than tamp it down.

That could spell trouble for a city that has not faced street violence on a large scale since the passing of the Civil Rights Act or when schools were desegregated more than 40 years ago.

Authorities say they are withholding information about the shooting — including names of the officers — to protect those involved. Yet many in the Lincoln Park community are convinced they know which officers were at that traffic stop. Several people in the crowd after the commission meeting openly shared the names with me.

Perhaps the powers-that-be hope that dragging out the investigation will eventually calm things down.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl noted Wednesday the case will go to a grand jury. That, he cautioned, will add two to three months or more to the process. Commissioner Eddie Becht also pointed out that bringing in the Department of Justice could hold things up even longer.

As someone who lives relatively close to the scene of this incident, I’m worried. The prospects of citizen unrest erupting into violence are awful to consider. Something must be done — and quickly.

More on the shooting in Fort Pierce

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/opinion/columnists/anthony-westbury/anthony-westbury-is-fort-pierce-a-powder-keg-after-saturday-shooting--317d944a-d009-6aaf-e053-010000-377612561.html

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Some in Fort Pierce want more answers about police-involved fatal shooting

Images from a special Fort Pierce City Commission meeting called by Commissioner Reggie Sessions on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at Fort Pierce City Hall. The meeting was held in light of the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Demarcus Semer by Fort Pierce police over the weekend. (XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)


Demarcus Semer

By Will Greenlee of TCPalm

FORT PIERCE — The anonymity of two Fort Pierce police officers involved in last weekend’s fatal shooting of a city resident isn’t sitting well with some community leaders and neighbors.

Nor is a City Commission decision Wednesday night to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to evaluate the local investigation, rather than have the agency take it over.

Jeremiah Minatee, 25, of Fort Pierce, was exiting a store on Avenue D on Thursday and weighed in.

He wants more details, including the officers’ names, before the investigation goes to a grand jury. Minatee said that might get more people to be more forthcoming about information.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl on Wednesday said the names would not be released until the investigation is complete and a grand jury meets. State Attorney Bruce Colton’s office and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office are conducting separate investigations and cooperating with each other.

Bakkedahl said releasing the names could influence witness testimony, and he also mentioned threats on the officers’ lives.

The shooting, in which two officers fired their weapons, happened after police tried to stop Demarcus Semer’s vehicle on North 19th Street about 11:55 p.m. April 23, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate the shooting by Fort Pierce police.

Sheriff Ken Mascara has said that at some point, Semer, 21, attempted to flee in his car and in doing so, ran over one of the officers, injuring his leg, as a second officer was getting in Semer’s car. The second officer couldn’t exit the moving car. Semer was shot outside of his vehicle and died.

“When an individual perpetrator shoots or kills a police officer, the name of the perpetrator is released within 24 hours,” Fort Pierce City Commissioner Reggie Sessions said. “However, when in this situation a police officer kills or shoots an individual, then authorities are very reluctant to release the name …”

Sessions, who is an attorney, said prosecutors complain about a lack of people volunteering information.

“Guess what, Mr. Prosecutor, if you let us know who we’re prosecuting, then perhaps we can give you that information,” he said.

On Facebook, people have been sharing a photograph of a Fort Pierce police officer who may or may not have been involved in the shooting. The caption on the photo refers to the officer as “the murderer.” At least two shares include death threats, saying to shoot and kill the officer.

Sylvester Davis, 32, of Fort Pierce decried information not being released about the shooting.

“This (Semer) was a good kid,” said Davis, whose cousin played high school football at Fort Pierce Central High School with Semer.

In addressing an inquiry about the names, Bakkedahl said, “Explain to me how releasing the names couldn’t jeopardize the integrity of the investigation?

“Let’s say I give up the name of Officer X, and I’ve got a citizen who says, ‘Oh I hate that Officer X, now that I know it’s Officer X involved I’m going to go tell them I saw Officer X execute the … decedent,” he said. “That impairs my investigation.”

Dale Landry, who chairs the criminal and juvenile justice committee for the Florida state conference of the NAACP, said it was “very problematic” to withhold the names until the grand jury meets.

“That sets the stage so that the community is not aware and not given the opportunity to come forward to speak,” said Landry, who is based in Tallahassee.

“There are some lessons we should have learned in the wake of Ferguson, in the wake of Baltimore. … The community has no trust in the criminal justice system in that judicial circuit.”

Charlie Frank Matthews, a former president of the local branch of the NAACP, said prosecutors should identify the officers.

“They do it in every other major city, why not this one?” he said.

But the president of the Concerned Citizens of St. Lucie County isn’t so sure.

“I really don’t know,” said the Rev. John Lee Sr.

About 100 community members attended a meeting Thursday night at the Golden Bear Pancake House on U.S. 1 to discuss sending letters to the Justice Department, asking it to take over the case.

Three different versions of the letter, the first for longtime residents, the second for young people and the third for other citizens of Fort Pierce, were passed out at the meeting for citizens to individually sign.

Shernetrice Bryant, 25, of Fort Pierce, said Semer was her banker and that community members don’t plan to go through the State’s Attorney’s office to contact the Justice Department.

“We’re going straight to the U.S. Department of Justice,” Bryant said. “We want the Sheriff’s Office off the case.”

Community members on Thursday even discussed calling for the resignations or terminations of Fort Pierce Chief of Police Diane Hobley-Burney and City Manager Nicholas Mimms.

Oslyne Murriel, 29, of Fort Pierce, said she didn’t know Semer personally, but hearing about him being a well-rounded man that died from a police shooting was enough for her to get involved.

The Rev. Kenneth Mills Sr., president of the Lincoln Park Council of Ministers, said his group is meeting Friday to ensure the council stays involved with the needs of citizens and to help keep calm and peace.

Staff writer Nick Samuel contributed to this story.

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/crime/st-lucie-county/some-in-fort-pierce-want-more-answers-about-police-involved-fatal-shooting-318e1239-f6dd-5de4-e053-0-377523101.html

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Chemical Containers expands service in Fort Pierce

By Contributed Report

FORT PIERCE — Chemical Containers Inc., a specialist in liquid-handling products, announces an expansion of its service to the agriculture industry in the Fort Pierce and east Central Florida areas at a facility at 15897 Orange Ave., Fort Pierce.

CCI will provide a more timely and effective method of servicing its customers in this area by offering its own repair personnel in its Fort Pierce operation. Whether service is needed on site, in the field, or in the shop, CCI now offers local repair service to keep agricultural equipment running.

CCI has been in business for more than 35 years, servicing the agriculture industry. CCI’s Fort Pierce personnel have more than 60 years of combined experience.

For more information or help, call 772-801-5326.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/business/chemical-containers-expands-service-in-fort-pierce-central-florida-31628830-e147-3220-e053-0100007fe-377505451.html

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Anthony Westbury: Fort Pierce is on the brink after shooting

Protesters gather outside a Fort Pierce City Commission meeting called by Commissioner Reggie Sessions on Wednesday  at Fort Pierce City Hall. The meeting was held in light of the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Demarcus Semer by Fort Pierce police April 23. (XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)

This getting downright scary.

Over the course of 25 years of living and working in Fort Pierce, I’ve never seen the city closer to a potential conflagration as it has been after the Saturday night shooting death of Demarcus Semer by Fort Pierce police.

At an emergency meeting Wednesday night, the Fort Pierce City Commission did little to ease growing tension in the city’s northwest section.

The board refused to take up Commissioner Reggie Sessions’ motion to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice demanding the investigation be taken out of the hands of St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Instead, the commission voted to send a watered-down version of such a letter, seeking to ascertain whether the situation in Fort Pierce warrants the feds’ attention. That spineless decision maddened audience members so much they abruptly stood and walked out en masse. It was hard to blame them.

“I have the utmost respect for the (Fort Pierce) Police Department,” resident Takisha Brianvil told me after the meeting. “They’ve done roll call outside my home, I’ve been in focus groups with the mayor and city manager. I’m on both sides. We just want justice and the truth.”

I heard the same plea for justice over and over as I walked among the crowd outside city hall. And I heard variations on this theme of distrust of law enforcement, whichever agency they belong to — whether they wear black, white, green or blue uniforms, it’s all the same.

Inside the commission chambers I was struck by how patient the audience was and, for the most part, how polite speakers were. People don’t seem ready to riot — but this is a volatile situation and I’m not sure how long that patience is going to last.

In reaction to a column last week, in which I called for an outside agency to take over the investigation, I was accused on social media of being a cop-hater. Not true. I have great respect for law enforcement officers in general; some have become valued acquaintances over many years.

One person asked how I’d feel if this was happening in my neighborhood. Well, it’s pretty close.

I live two miles from the site of Saturday’s shooting; closer to a mile from several other Lincoln Park trouble spots.

I’ve made a lot of friends in the northwest community over the years; I hear their frustration and feel their anger at regularly being treated as if they and their opinions don’t amount to much.

In my experience, some of those in authority have adopted a paternal attitude toward the minority population, and that any anger in Lincoln Park will dissipate if given enough time. That seems totally out of sync with recent experience in Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland and other cities. We need to learn from those places; it could easily happen here.

It seems to me that withholding all the details of the shooting could actually inflame public opinion rather than tamp it down.

That could spell trouble for a city that has not faced street violence on a large scale since the passing of the Civil Rights Act or when schools were desegregated more than 40 years ago.

Authorities say they are withholding information about the shooting — including names of the officers — to protect those involved. Yet many in the Lincoln Park community are convinced they know which officers were at that traffic stop. Several people in the crowd after the commission meeting openly shared the names with me.

Perhaps the powers-that-be hope that dragging out the investigation will eventually calm things down.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl noted Wednesday the case will go to a grand jury. That, he cautioned, will add two to three months or more to the process. Commissioner Eddie Becht also pointed out that bringing in the Department of Justice could hold things up even longer.

As someone who lives relatively close to the scene of this incident, I’m worried. The prospects of citizen unrest erupting into violence are awful to consider. Something must be done — and quickly.

More on the shooting in Fort Pierce

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/opinion/columnists/anthony-westbury/anthony-westbury-is-fort-pierce-a-powder-keg-after-saturday-shooting--317d944a-d009-6aaf-e053-010000-377612561.html

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Questions over who should investigate an officer-involved shooting in Fort Pierce

The Fort Pierce City Council could decide to take the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office off the investigation into a deadly Fort Pierce officer-involved shooting.

That shooting killed 21-year-old DeMarcus Semer over the weekend.

Sheriff Ken Mascara said there is no reason for anyone to doubt the work being done by his detectives.

But Fort Pierce City Councilman Reggie Sessions says some in the community don’t trust the sheriff’s office to be fair and unbiased.

He wants the Department of Justice or FDLE to take the lead.

The Fort Pierce Police Chief enlisted the help from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office to do the investigation so the police department wouldn’t be investigating its own officers.

But Sessions says witnesses are hesitant to come forward to the sheriff’s office and that could hurt the investigation.

Sheriff Mascara says more witnesses have been coming forward and the investigation is moving forward fairly.

“I’ve walked the neighborhood the last three days not talking to only residents but anyone who drove by the street or the actual site of the shooting and they all encourage me to be involved in this investigation,” Sheriff Mascara said.

The Sheriff says he has also already enlisted help from other agencies including the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office to help recreate the crime scene.

Mascara also says he has the FBI on backup.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/questions-over-who-should-investigate-an-officer-involved-shooting-in-fort-pierce

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Fort Pierce will not seek Justice Department intervention in police shooting | Photos

Fort Pierce City Manager Nicholas Mimms (center) talks about 21-year-old Demarcus Semer, who was fatally shot by Fort Pierce police over the weekend, during a Fort Pierce City Commission meeting Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at City Hall. Mimms, who said he knew Semer personally, described him as a good young man. The meeting, which was called by Commissioner Reggie Sessions in light of the shooting, was incoming City Attorney James Messer's first. (XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)


Chelsea Middleton (center), 18, the sister of 21-year-old Demarcus Semer, was shot and killed by Fort Pierce police over the weekend, listens to city officials speak Wednesday, April 27, 2016, about the investigation during a special Fort Pierce City Commission meeting called by Commissioner Reggie Sessions at City Hall. (XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS )


Demarcus Semer

By Keona Gardner of TCPalm

FORT PIERCE — The City Commission on Wednesday declined to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene in the investigation of Saturday’s fatal police shooting of 21-year-old Demarcus Semer.

Instead, the commission will ask the Justice Department to evaluate the case and decide whether the agency wants to intervene.

The shooting, in which two Fort Pierce police officers fired their weapons, happened after police tried to stop Semer’s vehicle on North 19th Street at 11:55 p.m. Saturday, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate the shooting by Fort Pierce police.

Sheriff Ken Mascara has declined to say whether Semer had a weapon. Mascara at a Monday news conference said at some point during the stop, Semer attempted to flee in his car and in doing so, ran over one of the officers, injuring his leg, as a second officer was getting into Semer’s car. The second officer couldn’t exit the moving car.

Semer was shot as he ran along the side of a house, said Benson Joseph, Semer’s lifelong friend, who said he witnessed the shooting.

Officials won’t identify the two officers involved in the shooting until after the investigation is complete and a grand jury is convened, Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl said.

City Manager Nick Mimms said the FBI and the Department of Justice are monitoring the case.

“We are all members of this community and this young man (Semer) meant something to me,” Mimms said.

More than 130 people filled the commission chambers for the two-hour meeting. Many in attendance wiped tears from their eyes and sighed deeply, showing frustration.

Commissioner Eddie Becht said he was against the Department of Justice’s involvement because he said it sends a message that “I don’t support my sheriff.”

“If the Department of Justice thought there was something to investigate, then they would already be here,” Becht said.

Commissioner Tom Perona said he didn’t want to offend the Sheriff’s Office by asking an outside agency to intervene.

“We, the city, have worked very hard to maintain a good relationship with the Sheriff’s Office, and I didn’t want to make them feel in any way that I didn’t have confidence in them,” Perona said.

Commissioner Reggie Sessions, who was the only commissioner to support the federal involvement, said the public could contact the Department of Justice themselves.

“This is a very, very serious matter and we cannot afford to sweep this under the rug,” Sessions said.

Residents at the meeting on Wednesday said they do not trust the Sheriff’s Office to conduct an impartial investigation into the shooting because the office works closely with the Police Department.

“It would be a huge slap in the face to this community if you discard the wishes of this community,” resident Trayvon Simmon said.

“I think they don’t want justice for all. If they really cared, they would’ve taken it into consideration. We want a fair investigation, that’s all, ” said Raynasha Grant, 21, who attended Dan McCarty Middle School with Semers.

Staff writer Nick Samuel contributed to this story.

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/st-lucie-county/fort-pierce-declines-justice-department-intervention-in-police-shooting-317cd110-d556-2715-e053-0100--377371261.html

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Fort Pierce bank robbery suspect sought by police

Fort Pierce police are looking for a bank robbery suspect.

They say a man robbed a Wells Fargo bank at 2597 S. US Highway 1 Thursday morning

The suspect entered the bank, passed a note to the teller stating he had a gun, and wanted money.

He then left and was last seen on Gardenia Avenue

The man was wearing a dark baseball cap, with the word Peterson across the front, and a gray hoodie sweatshirt that had UX-TRAINING on the front.

If you recognize him please call Detective Christine Davis at (772) 216-6626 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800-273-TIPS (8477).
 

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/fort-pierce-bank-robbery-suspect-sought-by-police

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