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Gathering held to “Speak Out for Jawan”

A press conference and vigil will be held Tuesday morning starting at 10 a.m. at Mobile City Hall.

Family of Jawan grieve his passing during a July press conference.
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A gathering was held Monday night as the family of Jawan Dallas continues to demand justice and transparency following his death after being tased by a Mobile Police Department officer in July. 

The gathering was held at Bethel AME Church in Mobile at 7 p.m. Monday night. There were people in attendance in person and a livestream that brought in over 2,000 viewers. 

Several individuals spoke during the gathering including Christine Dallas, Jawan’s mother, one of the attorneys representing the Dallas family, community members and others. 

Christine spoke briefly as tears rolled down her face. 

“I don’t have a lot to say but I wanted to say that I’m here to get justice for my son and find out the truth about what happened to my son,” Christine said. “Jay was a very good guy and he didn’t deserve to leave here this way. It’s been a struggle these last few months dealing with him not being here. But I just wanted to say thank y’all so much for coming, from everywhere that y’all came from. And I hope that y’all stay with us in this fight until we get justice for Jay.”

Since Jawan’s death, Christine, family members and supporters have continuously attended Mobile City Council meetings searching for answers and transparency. However, the family has routinely been asked to continue to wait on being shown body camera footage and Christine is denied the closure and ability to know what exactly led to Jawan’s death. 

Rev. Wanda Johnson spoke during the gathering and gave words of encouragement to Christine. Johnson is the mother of Oscar Grant, the black man who was shot and killed by police in 2009 at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland, California.

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“It’s going to require all of us to come together to stand up against this system,” Johnson said. “A system that was not created for us in the first place and rebuilding the system. And the only way we can rebuild that system is to speak up like [Christine is] speaking up… and the family that’s with her let her know you are with her, that you support her, that you will fight with her, that you will encourage her that you will stand in the city councils, that you will stand on the streets. That you will cry out until your voice is heard and you will not give in.”

One of the attorneys for the family, Roderick Van Daniel, demanded transparency from city officials who have withheld body camera footage and information from being released. Mobile City Attorney Ricardo Woods has said that the body cam footage could not be released at this time because it is evidence in grand jury trial. According to Van Daniel the family was assured they would see the footage by Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood, prior to a grand jury being set. 

“Enough with the silence, enough with the evasiveness secrecy, enough with the secrecy,” Van Daniel said. “Because we came before District Attorney Blackwood before this even reached the grand jury. We tired of the lies, we want the truth.”

Bishop Williams James Barber spoke at the gathering via a pre-recorded video message and by a phone call. Barber said they would continue to seek justice and truth for Jawan and even revealed that a “major media news outlet” would be launching an investigation into Jawan’s death.

A press conference and vigil will be held Tuesday morning starting at 10 a.m. at Mobile City Hall. 

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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