Huntsville/Madison County NAACP leader has questions about Planet Fitness shooting

Jerry Burnet took over as the president of the Huntsville/Madison County NAACP in January. He says he's been a part of the group for about 20 years.

Posted: Oct 30, 2019 7:06 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2019 8:07 PM

The Huntsville/Madison County NAACP is urging everyone to be patient with the investigation into a deadly shooting involving Madison police officers and delay protests until all the facts are made public.

The group's leader says he understands why some people may be guided by their emotion.

Dana Fletcher (Photo courtesy of Fletcher Family)

Jerry Burnet took over as the president of the Huntsville/Madison County NAACP in January. He says he's been a part of the group for about 20 years.

"One of the main issues that drew me to the NAACP was too many times, black males were killed by police officers, and then, no one was held accountable," he said.

Now, he's watching closely as the Madison County Sheriff's Office investigates Sunday's fatal shooting of Dana Fletcher by Madison police in a Planet Fitness parking lot.

“I got a number of phone calls and emails questioning what was the NAACP doing about it,” he said.

Burnet says right now, he urges everyone to let investigators figure out if the shooting was justified.

"We don’t have the facts. No decision has been made. It would be a little premature to do a protest at this time," he said

Burnet says he's tried to reach out to Fletcher's wife, but has been unsuccessful.

He's aware of her Facebook post Monday morning, which contradicts some of the few details given by investigators.

"I'm questioning, did she really put it there, because she has not contacted NAACP for assistance, and if she put that on Facebook, what happened to her? She just vanished into thin air," he said.

The post claims Fletcher had no gun in the van, where the scuffle with police started, but cell phone video taken by an unidentified witness may show otherwise, where you can hear officers yelling, "He has a gun. He has a gun."

Burnet hopes for clarity for the community's sake.

"We would like transparency in order to satisfy the public," he said.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office has been handling the investigation, but hasn't spoken publicly since the shooting. We've asked the spokesman where they stand and when they'll comment. He says investigators are still interviewing witnesses, and they have no timeline for completion.

The NAACP will host a town hall Monday night. It has invited District Attorney Rob Broussard to talk about use of deadly force and the investigative process for these types of shootings. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Richard Showers Recreation Center.

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