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Let the courts decide, Oklahoma NAACP leaders say

BY BRYAN DEAN Modified: May 30, 2009 at 12:12 am •  Published: May 30, 2009
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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.

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.

What you’re saying

Do you think the Oklahoma City pharmacist, Jerome Ersland, should be charged in connection with the May 19 shooting death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker? Here’s what some of you said:

"If he was in danger and if the guy shot him first; if he had a license to carry a gun, he had a right to shoot the guy cause he was in danger, cause he shot him first, so I believe it would be self-defense.”

Dale Thornton Jr., 37, Tulsa, Walmart courtesy supervisor

"I think that it was absolutely ridiculous that he was charged with murder, absolutely ridiculous. I feel sorry for his family. I think it is just a sad situation, and as citizens, I think we need to stand up and protest against it.”

Rachel Barlow, 32,

Edmond, dental assistant

"I think he was justified in shooting him the first time, because he (Parker) was pointing a gun at him and he was being robbed. I don’t know all the details, but I don’t think he was justified in shooting him all the excess times that he did.”

Jerry Williams, 70,

Oklahoma City, retired

"Well, I saw the clip on TV and I noticed that the one gentleman was shot in self-defense but the other where he shot five shots, that was a little excess. And I think he should have drawn a boundary, because I don’t think he was in any danger with the second. There has to be a limit.”

Tommy Harms, 49,

Edmond, housewife and student

"We need to get all the facts in, don’t make any quick judgments on it. It is a terrible tragedy for everybody and my heart goes out to the family of the victims and certainly to the pharmacist as well. Hopefully this matter will get resolved without any further delay and I hope everybody can feel like they got justice.”

Lee Bourn,

Oklahoma City

LEIGHANNE MANWARREN,

STAFF WRITER

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