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Community questions motives in releasing grand jury decision amid Leon County curfew

Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 18:29:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — One of the biggest cases to go before the grand jury, is the death of Tony McDade.

McDade was a person of interest in a deadly stabbing that happened in the Bond community on May 27.

According to court documents, an officer went to the Leon Arms apartment complex in search of the suspect.

When he arrived, the officer says McDade started walking towards his patrol car with a gun in hand. Documents go on to say that officer feared for his life, so he got out of his car and fired a shot at McDade.

Since the shooting attorney Mutaqee Akbar, who represents the McDade family has pushed for body camera video to be released.

The president of the Tallahassee chapter of the NAACP, Adner Marcelin, says right now he's most upset with the way everything was announced.

Marcelin says he hasn't had time to go through those findings to make any comment. He had pushed city and county officials to withhold the findings earlier this week in response to the curfew issued days ago.

Marcelin saying he felt that curfew coming in the nick of time for the grand jury findings would end up upsetting the community.

Marcelin says he was hoping the state attorney would make a public statement, explaining the findings and how the grand jury came to them.

He says with leaders hiding behind the documents and the curfew that he believes was put in place to stifle protests and he questions the process of transparency.

"There's not a significant basis to implement the curfew," said Marcelin. "There was only one isolated incident that involved the brandishing of a gun. While that incident is a scare, we've had weeks and even months where we have been the highest per capita on crime and we've never had a curfew on the record as a solution, so why now?

Meanwhile, Akbar says he respects the grand jury's decision and that the biggest thing for him and his clients is mourning the loss of McDade.

"Wanda McDade, Tasha's mother understood that the videos were going to come out," Akbar said. "Understood what the findings would be. Her biggest thing is coming to some conclusion. She can grieve Natosha. Now she can move forward with her life, the same for the Johnson family."

Akbar says these findings do call into question policies regarding law enforcement.

He's calling for more help for people with mental health issues.

On Friday, Tallahassee mayor John Dailey announced a three-tiered proposal to help increase transparency, which includes mental health experts.