Leaders of the local and state chapters of the NAACP appealed for calm Friday and asked that people let justice take its course in the case of a local druggist accused of killing a teen involved in a May 19 armed robbery.
Leaders of the NAACP and the Hispanic Action Coalition held a news conference Friday in which they praised Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater for filing a murder charge against Jerome Jay Ersland, 57, the druggist who was on duty when two black teens tried to rob Reliable Discount Pharmacy, 5900 S Pennsylvania Ave. Ersland is white.
Prosecutors claim Ersland fired one shot that hit Antwun Parker, 16, in the head. He then chased the other teen, identified as 14-year-old Jevontia Ingram, out of the store.
Surveillance video shows Ersland returned to the counter where prosecutors say he retrieved a second gun before walking to where Parker was laying incapacitated on the ground and firing five shots into his stomach.
Ingram, Emanuel Dwayne Mitchell, 31, an Anthony Devale Morrison, 43, also face murder charges in the case. Prosecutors believe Mitchell and Morrison talked the teens into the robbery.
Oklahoma NAACP President Anthony Douglas said people should let the courts determine Ersland’s fate. Ersland was released on $100,000 bail Thursday.
"We urge the community to let the process work,” Douglas said. "We do not wish the community to take up arms or retaliate.”
Roosevelt Milton, former president of the Oklahoma City NAACP chapter, said many in the black community were understandably upset after seeing surveillance video of the incident showing Ersland firing repeatedly at Parker, who prosecutors say was just off-screen on the floor of the pharmacy.