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Friends, family seek answers on Omari Cryer’s death by U.S. Marshal task force

Dozens of Cryer’s family, friends, and fellow Black Louisville residents are asking police why Cryer was killed that day.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 12:03 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A member or members of a U.S. Marshal’s task force shot and killed Omari Cryer, 25, on Friday morning.

Now, dozens of Cryer’s family, friends, and fellow Black Louisville residents are asking police why Cryer was killed that day.

“I was asleep, and I got the call,” said Antiya Parker, Cryer’s recent ex-girlfriend at a Monday balloon release for Cryer. “I was shocked… Because why was he shot? Why did this happen?”

The task force was serving a felony warrant on behalf of the Louisville Metro Police Department; Cryer was facing felony domestic abuse charges including strangulation, assault, and terroristic threat.

LMPD Chief Erika Shields said Monday that “Mr. Cryer was in possession of a handgun at the time he was shot” but would not comment on whether Cryer brandished that weapon in front of the task force.

“I would anticipate that any body-worn camera footage would be released in the near future once essential interviews have been conducted,” Shields said.

The coroner’s report is also highly anticipated, expected to report how many times Cryer was shot, and whether he was shot facing law enforcement or facing away. LMPD’s public integrity unit is investigating the shooting–because the U.S. Marshals asked them to step in–creating a case that will help determine whether charges are filed.

Those are the kinds of answers that Monday’s demonstrators were looking for. Soon after the balloon release, dozens took to Louisville city streets, stopping traffic and chanting.

“There is no protection for the Black man in any circumstance when it comes to police,” Chris Will of the FIRM Initiative said. “I still don’t think deadly force is warranted if a shot’s not fired.”

Parker and Cryer shared a two-year-old son, KJ.

“He is so funny; he is such a handful,” Parker said. “He reminds me so much of his dad.”

Parker said Cryer loved her very much, and she will always remember good times together, but their relationship was complicated.

In January, just before their three-year relationship ended, Parker said she called police on Cryer because he allegedly stole her car.

“Every couple has their issues,” Parker said. “Every couple has arguments and stuff.”

When asked about Cryer’s domestic violence charges and whether Cryer ever “laid hands” on her in any way, Parker said, “Yes, he did. He did.”

Parker isn’t sure whether her allegations of domestic assault are why that warrant was filed, but she does know that regardless, she wants to see justice for his death.

“To make sure his name stays alive,” Parker said. “To make sure that the case gets solved and the truth comes out.”

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