DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Family and friends of a Durham man shot and killed by a state trooper believe justice is taking too long as they wait for their loved one’s autopsy.
Willard Scott died February 12 after what the Highway Patrol described as an “armed confrontation” with Trooper Jerimy Mathis.
Investigators said Mathis tried to stop Scott for driving erratically, but Scott then drove away. Officers said Scott eventually got out of his car and ran away before the shooting, and troopers said they found a gun at the scene.
Thomasine Hinson, Scott’s mother, held a stethoscope to her chest at a rally Saturday as a symbol of her suffering since her son’s death.
“My heart aches. Aches. Daily. At night. My heart aches and will forever ache. No mother should have to bury a son or daughter. We shouldn’t have to bury our
children,” Hinson said.
Family, friends, and members of the Durham chapter of the NAACP held a rally outside the Durham County Courthouse as they demanded progress in the investigation into Scott’s death.
Chapter president Roland Staton said their purpose is for the release of an autopsy report.
“The family knows more about the circumstances of Willard’s death from the mortician than they do from the medical examiner’s office,” Staton said.
The State Bureau of Investigation said it is waiting to receive the autopsy report in order to complete its investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
A spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told CBS North Carolina by email Friday: “The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is awaiting toxicology tests to be complete. Every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, and the length of time to complete a case can vary based on a number of factors.”
When informed by the media at Saturday’s rally of this statement, Staton said the protest might not have happened if the investigators provided the family with that information.
“The family that’s calling virtually every day should get more than (we will tell you) ‘soon.’ If there are some logistical challenges, lay them out,” Staton said.
Scott’s mother said she calls every day, and the NAACP encouraged its members to also call the medical examiner’s office.
“They will say soon, soon. What is soon,” Hinson said.
“I said please don’t let soon be two more months. It’s already been five months. How long does it take?” Hinson added.
The NAACP compared this case with five others since 2013 involving men who died in officer-involved incidents in Durham County.
Four cases took less than three months, ranging from six to 10 weeks. The fifth incident took 19.
Scott died 21 weeks ago.
The State Highway Patrol declined a request for comment on Saturday’s rally.