Activists question if race played a role in Covington's death - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Activists question if race played a role in Covington's death

Rev. James Tennyson Rev. James Tennyson
Rev. Milton Seymore Rev. Milton Seymore
Patrick Renn Patrick Renn
Casey McCall Casey McCall
Louisville, KY -

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISILLE, KY (WAVE) - Community activists are asking police to investigate if a racial slur led up to a former University of Louisville football player's death. Daniel Covington was shot early Sept. 16 at Second and Liberty Streets downtown. Metro Police are calling it self-defense, but some question how it all started. The Justice Resource Center pushed for answers meeting with LMPD Chief Robert White who promised them there would be a thorough investigation.  

"The chief gave us his full commitment on that everything, all the evidence and everything would be turned over to the Commonwealth's Attorney," said Rev. James Tennyson, Director of the Justice Resource Center. 

Around 2:30 a.m., police say Covington stopped at a light on Liberty Street and got out. He then lunged into the window of another car, attacking the people inside. Sources tell WAVE 3 Isaiah Howes and his brother were in the car and that Howes shot Covington. 

"The question has been brought by the community: what provoked it," asked Rev. Milton Seymore, chairman of the Justice Resource Center. 

Police say they believe someone may have yelled something, but don't know if it came from the car. A friend of Covington, who asked to remain anonymous, said the only thing that would make him that mad would be if someone used a racial slur. That's something the JRC is questioning too. 

"Knowing his attitude and knowing his disposition, something had to provoke him," said Tennyson. "Something had to be said. Something had to be done." 

Even if someone did yell something offensive, police say it's still a case of self-defense because Covington entered the vehicle. 

"If somebody unlawfully enters your dwelling, your residence or your occupied vehicle, then you would have the right to use deadly force," said Pat Renn, an attorney who not associated with the case, explained the law.

Defense attorney Casey McCall who is also unconnected to the case, says he believe it's been handed "unusually," and doesn't know why there weren't charges right away. 

"If the Commonwealth's Attorney Office and the detectives believe that this was a justified homicide, that there's a self defense claim or something along those lines, they could have charged assault," said McCall. "They could have charged wanton endangerment. They could have charged leaving the scene of the accident. They could have charged numerous traffic offenses, thereby getting the suspect or possible suspect into custody and kind of control the case, which has not happened to this point."

It is still an open investigation and once complete will go to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

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