The lawyer for the family of a black man who was shot and killed in North Carolina after a 911 call reporting “hoodlums” in the Raleigh neighborhood has blasted the alleged shooter as “George Zimmerman 2.0,” CBS News reports.
Chad Cameron Copley, 39, who is white, fired his shotgun from inside his garage early Sunday morning, fatally wounding 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas.
Copley is now facing murder charges in the case.
Thomas’ family said that the young man had been attending a party at a home near Copley’s and was just leaving when he was killed. Just before the shooting, a 911 call from Copley’s address complained of “hoodlums” in the area. The male caller told the dispatcher that he was on the neighborhood watch, and that he was “locked and loaded” and ready to go confront them.
State law prohibits authorities from confirming the identity of the caller.
Thomas’ family have since secured representation from civil rights attorney Justin Bamberg, who has represented the families of Walter Scott and Alton Sterling, CBS news notes.
It was Bamberg who blasted Copley, comparing him to Zimmerman, the notorious neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Florida.
“Mr. Neighborhood Watch … Mr. ‘I’m going to go out and play police’ … Mr. ‘I’m going to pass judgment on someone I know nothing about based on what they’re wearing, based on what he looks like, based on what I think he may be up to,’” Bamberg said.
“Mr. Copley never left his house, never left his position of safety, never was in reasonable danger,” Bamberg added. “He shot through a closed garage door into a street full of young, innocent people.”
Thomas’ mother, Simone Butler-Thomas, reportedly broke down as she spoke to reporters about her son. The last time she saw her son alive, he had asked her to take a picture of him before he went to the party.
“He wasn’t dressed when he left the with sagging pants, or a a du-rag, or anything people would call ‘hoodlum,’” she said. “…There was nothing hood about him.”
“Would this happen if there was Caucasian boys skateboarding up and down the street at one o’clock in the morning?” she asked.
Bamberg said that the family “won’t be satisfied” until Copley is convicted.
“He was a good kid, and I don’t have him no more, and there’s nothing I can do,” Butler-Thomas said, sobbing. “I’ve got to bury my child.”
Meanwhile, Copley’s lawyer Raymond Tarlton, released a statement urging the community not to rush to judgement.
“We have seen too many wrongful convictions for anyone or any organization to jump to conclusions on the basis of someone being charged,” the statement said. “We have just gotten involved and are at the beginning stages of our investigation. We urge restraint and that folks not rush to judgement. At this point we cannot say anything more.”
Read more at CBS News.