Officer Shoots at Black Children in Waycross, GA

by Color of Change

On August 8, a 16-year-old was driving his younger siblings home when Officer Jesse Shook began following his car.

Officer Shook claims the driver ran a stop sign, but Shook didn’t flash his lights or tell the driver to pull over. Instead, he followed the car full of Black children to their home.

Scared and confused, the teen driver told the youngest kids — a 9-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a 14-year-old — to get their father for help.

A second officer, Lt. Scott Rowell, arrived at the scene and opened fire on the car and the children in front of their home. Thankfully, none of the children were hit by the bullets, but a 15-year-old was pistol-whipped by one of the cops.

Officer Shook and Lt. Scott Rowell were both wearing body-worn cameras, but did not turn them on. The Waycross Police Department doesn’t have dash-cam video of the incident.

Both officers were placed on paid leave, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is still looking into the case.

This isn’t the first time Lt. Rowell has been investigated for reckless use of force in an officer-involved shooting. In 2013, the GBI investigated Rowell’s involvement in the police killing of Jack Lamar Roberson, an unarmed Black man. GBI cleared Rowell and the other officers of any wrongdoing — allowing him to return to the police force to continue terrorizing Black people in Waycross.

On Saturday, Lt. Rowell resigned. His resignation from the Waycross Police Department is notable, but both he and Officer Shook must be held accountable for their racist choice to tailgate and shoot at Black children.

One resignation is not enough. The second officer, Jesse Shook, is still on the force. GBI’s investigation into the incident is ongoing, and Color Of Change will keep fighting until BOTH officers are removed from the force.  We must continue to demand full accountability to make sure Lt. Rowell and Officer Shook can’t terrorize Black people elsewhere. We have to make sure these officers don’t join the police department one town over or continue terrorizing Black people in Waycross.

Together, with your help, we will continue to demand accountability for reckless and racist cops like Lt. Rowell and Officer Shook. And we’ll keep fighting to make sure racist incidents like this never happen again — not in Waycross, not in California, not anywhere. You can sign the petition here:

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