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Crooked Island police shooting death inquest begins

Family members’ accounts of fatal police shooting differ
  • Family members of Ezra Ferguson as they arrived at the Coroner's Court on Thursday, October 10, 2013. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 11, 2013

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A coroner’s inquest began yesterday into the shooting death of an unarmed man at a school fair in Crooked Island.

Ezra Ferguson, 26, was shot during a struggle with Corporal 2587 Sterling Thompson on March 17, 2012 in front of family members. He was among six people killed in police shootings that year.

According to witnesses, Ferguson had an argument with O’Brien Bain after he moved a bottle of vodka from the bar at the function around 9 p.m.

Ferguson was eventually persuaded to return the bottle.

However, according to the decedent’s cousin, Anna Fae Ferguson-Knowles, Ferguson became belligerent when Desmond Collie approached.

Ferguson-Knowles said Ferguson grabbed Collie’s shirt. The witness said she and Ferguson’s mom, Bloneva, tried to calm Ferguson down.

While Ferguson-Knowles said she could not say whether Ferguson was drunk, she said he appeared “nice” from drinking.

She said Thompson intervened and warned Ferguson to behave or he would be arrested.

Ferguson-Knowles said a struggle that lasted about five to seven minutes ensued. She said she heard Ferguson say, “Don’t (expletive deleted) with me.”

Ferguson-Knowles said she never saw Ferguson reach for the officer’s gun or threaten to shoot him before she heard a gunshot.

She said Ferguson collapsed and died afterwards.

Ferguson’s mother’s account of the events leading to her son’s death were different from that of Ferguson-Knowles.

Mrs. Ferguson said that her son was not involved in any altercation on the night in question.

She said he had a conversation with Bain and returned a bottle.

That’s when Cpl Thompson walked over and told him he was locked up, she said.

Mrs. Ferguson said her son asked the officer the reason for his arrest. Mrs. Ferguson said she told her son to go home and as they were walking to the truck, Thompson shot him.

She said Thompson refused to let anyone approach the body and told them to “get back” as he held a gun in his hand.

The inquest continues tomorrow before Acting Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez.

Christina Galanos represents Ferguson’s family and Wayne Munroe represents the officer. Algernon Allen Jr. is the marshal.

The coroner’s jury does not make any finding of criminal or civil liability.

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