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Protesters Rally Against So-Called Racial Acts in Coffee County

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

- Coffee County, GA - Feb. 13, 2012 -

Protesters storm City Hall in Douglas, Georgia with accusations of racial discrimination among the Fire and Police Departments.

Waving banners and chanting, protesters cry out against two incidents, both within one week of each other in 2010. And both involving using a noose to supposedly antagonize African-American officers.

Larry NeSmith is the Coffee County NAACP President. He tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg why this rally is so important to them.

"By doing the rally, it's showing the city that we come in numbers. We don't just come as one. We come in numbers. We come to let everybody know we're here and we're not going anywhere until justice is done," said NeSmith.

In the Douglas Fire Department Theodore Moore says a noose was roped around his neck during a promotion interview.

"We're not here to stir trouble but we're here for justice. Not only for myself but for others that are coming behind me," Moore tells Gullberg.

Recently, over the phone the Douglas Fire Chief told Gullberg those men were reprimanded, but no one was fired.

Now in the Douglas Police Department several Caucasian officers allegedly dangled a noose in front of an African-American officer. One of those officers was fired. But that decision was later overturned by the Board of Commissioners.

The new Police Chief, Gary Casteloes, says he's been digging into the issue and hopes to get to the bottom of the situation.

The Georgia state NAACP has called for a federal investigation into the events in Douglas.

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- Coffee County, GA - December 15, 2011 -

The Georgia State NAACP is calling for a federal investigation into what it's calling racially charged actions against firefighters and police officers in Coffee County, Georgia.
Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg has the story.

The Douglas Police Chief in Coffee County is running an internal affairs investigation and working with the president of the Coffee County chapter of the NAACP, Larry Nate Smith.
Smith says he's deeply concerned by alleged racially motivated acts within the Douglas Fire and Police departments.
And he accuses city officials of helping sweep it under the rug.

"They're condoning racism and I don't think in this age and time that we need that in our city or nation," Smith tells Gullberg.

The fray revolves around two separate incidents both within a week of each other in 2010.
Both involve using a noose to allegedly antagonize African American officers.
In the Douglas Fire Department Theodore Moore says a noose was roped around his neck during a promotion interview.

"So, you know, it makes you wonder what kind of people are working with you," Moore tells Gullberg.

In the Douglas Police Department several Caucasian officers allegedly dangled a noose in front of an African American officer.
One of those officers was fired, but that decision was later overturned by the Board of Commissioners.
Now that the Georgia State NAACP is raising the issue the new police chief is running an internal affairs investigation.
Chief Gary Casteloes says the results will be revealed in the coming days.

Gullberg asked the Douglas Fire Chief over the phone about allegations against his department.
Fire Chief White says disciplinary actions have been taken in a timely manner.
He does not expect that any further investigations will reveal much more.

Firefighter Moore says he's working with the NAACP in the investigation and he's looking into the prospect of pursuing legal action.


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