Some Think Justice Resource Center Quick To Jump To Conclusions About Police Shootings

By Jeff Tang

(LOUISVILLE, February 9th, 2005) -- As police continue their investigation into the shooting, so will a controversial civil rights figure. Louis Coleman, the leader of the Justice Resource Center, says he will conduct his own investigation to determine whether or not officers were justified in firing at Joshua Rucker, who was killed Tuesday morning in a restaurant parking lot. WAVE 3's Jeff Tang reports.

There are already racial undertones to this case. A fatal police shooting that involves two white officers and one black suspect. Now the Justice Resource Center is adding more controversy to the case by criticizing it before all the facts are known.

Just hours after an armed black man was shot to death outside Bob Evans on Preston Highway, Coleman was already criticizing the police department.

"Why should we believe a police department that has historically lied?" Coleman asked at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Coleman says the Justice Resource Center will conduct its own investigation into the shooting. Though admittedly lacking facts, members of the resource center were already blaming police.

"I ask myself, if you are a police officer and want a vacation and want to keep your pay, all you have to do is kill an African American or Hispanic or poor white," said Mattie Jones, a Justice Resource Center member.

"We have untrained officers that don't know how to handle our black males and they're a threat," said Rev. Rhonda McIntyre of King Solomon Baptist Church.

Police Chief Robert White had this to say about the accusations. "Justice Resource would do themselves some justice by getting all the facts before they make comments," he said. "Obviously, they don't have a clear understanding to what occurred."

The civil rights group "Pride" criticized Coleman's approach of blaming police before the facts are known. "That's the way he's doing it," said Pride President George Burney. "Pride will wait until the investigation is over."

For years, Coleman has called himself a voice of the African American community. That may or may not be true.

"That's a lot of talking, man, but we need a whole lot of help right here," says Sayheed Asante, who is heading his own community group called "Young Adults For Positive Change." His group says Coleman is out of touch with the community.

"He's doing a lot of talking and no action," says Timothy Crenshaw. "We see him on TV, but until something happens we don't see him walking through the neighborhoods."

Coleman says if his investigation proves the officers were not in danger when firing the shots, he will encourage the victim's family to pursue every legal action possible.

A new twist in the case developed late Wednesday afternoon, when the Jefferson County Coroner's office announced that the bullet that killed Rucker wasn't fired from a police weapon.

Online Reporter: Jeff Tang

Online Producer: Michael Dever