POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Family and friends of a Pompano Beach man who, authorities and witnesses said, was fatally gunned down by Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies took to the streets and confronted city commissioners about the shooting, Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, a small group gathered to march on Pompano Beach City Hall to fight for justice for Gregory Frazier. Witnesses said the 56-year-old, who was black, was killed as he ate dinner in his backyard, Friday night, by BSO deputies who had responded to a report of a domestic disturbance.
Tuesday night, Gregory’s young neighbor wiped away tears as she addressed commissioners. “I do not understand why you had to shoot Mr. Greg,” said Courtavia Westbrook. “You’re punishing my brother, my sisters and my family and friends.”
Rage and sadness spilled over into the commission meeting as African-American residents addressed officials. “Living in this city, I no longer feel safe,” said a man.
“I’m here because chicken wings and fries should never be accompanied by bullets,” said another man, “and apathy from people who were sworn to protect them.”
“This community has changed, and if you’re on to the sound of my voice, and you are a registered voter, understand that if you want change, this is not what it looks like,” said a woman.
On Tuesday afternoon, protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” as they marched to City Hall in the rain. Among the demonstrators were friends and relatives of Frazier.
Deputies answered a call about a domestic dispute, Friday, and said they were forced to fire, but the man’s family insists there were other options to resolve the situation that led to Frazier’s death.
“Police officers have the means, have the restraint to deescalate,” said march attendee Sarahca Peterson.
Officials have released the 911 calls for help.
Dispatcher: “911, what’s your emergency?”
Caller: “It’s an emergency. My (inaudible), he hit my, my … he’s trying to hurt my daughter and my son. Pompano Beach Police — he’s breaking up stuff in the house. Right now.”
Dispatcher: “And who is he?”
Caller: “Hurry up. Hurry up, please.”
Frazier’s family said when deputies arrived, he was sitting on a lawn chair eating dinner, but investigators said that was not the case.
A post on BSO’s Facebook page reads:
“FACT: Two deputies fired their weapons — one was black, one was white.
FACT: Mr. Frazier was facing the two deputies when shots were fired.
We ask the community’s patience and trust while [the Florida Department of Law Enforcement] investigates and seeks to find the truth.”
Protests have since followed. The victim’s son, Xavier Frazier, spoke at a church on Monday night and asked for justice and further inquiry into what led up to his father’s death. “To shoot first and ask questions later,” he said. “Here we go again.”
Deputies, however, described Frazier as a knife-wielding man.
The Frazier family has hired a prominent civil rights attorney, who released a photo of the scene.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel defended his department. “I’m not here today to tell you that the deputies did anything right or anything wrong. That’s what this investigation is all about,” he said. “We are on the same team. We want the same thing you want: truth and justice.”
Israel said the Frazier shooting will be the last of its kind where the department will investigate their employees’ actions. The FDLE will take on that responsibility moving forward.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Peterson said. “We want everyone to be held accountable. We want answers.”
As they left Tuesday’s commission meeting, protesters sang, “My mama tells me why, why did Greg have to die?”
Frazier’s cousin told 7News they will not give up until justice is served. “This is not going to get pushed under the rug,” said Ashley Wimberly. “My cousin is dead for no reason.”
“I wanna know, do they like black people?” said Westbrook.
When asked if she believes police officers do not like African-Americans, she replied, “Yes.”
In the end, Pompano Beach commissioners may not have much authority when it comes to situations like Frazier’s shooting. They have a contract with BSO, but that contract does not expire until 2020.
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