Mother of police shooting victim denounces grand jury decisionBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / June 11, 2021
HIGH POINT – The mother of another fatal police shooting victim in North Carolina blasted a grand jury’s June 1st decision not to indict the off-duty, plainclothes Davidson County sheriff’s detective responsible.
“I was shocked…devastated and let down…,” Tenicka Shannon of High Point said as she vowed that justice will be done in the death of her son, Frederick Rodriquez Cox Jr., 18, last November at a High Point church.
“My son was murdered in a church by a detective.”
Cox was one of many mourners attending the funeral of a teenage murder victim at Living Water Baptist Church on November 8th. After the service ended and the congregation was leaving, a car drove by the church firing shots. Shannon says her son was heroically opening the door of the church to allow people back in for safety, when the detective opened fire, fatally hitting him four times, twice in the back, according to a subsequent autopsy report.
“He was shot in the back of the neck, which was the fatal shot,” Shannon confirmed.
It took seven months for the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office to present its evidence to a grand jury on Tuesday, June 1st after a questionable probe by the State Bureau of Investigation.
According to a release by the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office, a majority of the 18-member grand jury, citing insufficient evidence to support criminal charges, determined that there was no probable cause to sustain a charge (or true bill) of either voluntary manslaughter, or felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
Last January, the SBI released a preliminary report alleging that “The deputy observed Cox with a handgun at the time (the deputy) discharged his weapon and other witnesses observed a handgun near Cox after he was shot.”
But in its release last week, the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office said, “There was no evidence presented that Cox Jr. was in a gang or that he discharged a weapon,” meaning, as far as many of the witnesses and Cox’s mother are concerned, there was no reason for the plainclothes deputy to fire his weapon at the young man.
“It is a true murderer that’s walking the streets that holds a badge and does not know [when] to fire his service weapon,” Shannon said.
“It’s sad and it’s scary.”
Thus, Shannon assured that a wrongful death suit is forthcoming, and she will be represented by civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump, the so-called “attorney general for Black America” because of his advocacy for the families of Black police victims, and attorney Antonio Romanucci.
“This shameful lack of accountability is something we see all too often when young Black men are unjustifiably gunned down by officers,” Crump and Romanucci said in a statement. “Fred Cox was attempting to help his community, already in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one, when he was wrongly profiled by police and killed because of it. Law enforcement cannot continue to fire their weapons at Black people blindly and without consequence.”
The N.C. NAACP is supporting Shannon, as is Rev. Gregory Drumwright of Greensboro with the activist group Justice 4 the Next Generation.
The fact that Fred Cox Jr. died trying to protect others is indicative of the kind of young man that he was, Tenicka Shannon says. Her son was mannerly, and “very protective of women,” she says. “I raised this young man by myself. My husband taught my son to open the door for women.”
Meanwhile, in the Anthony Brown Jr. police shooting case in Elizabeth City, representatives of the N.C. NAACP traveled to Washington, D.C. last week and met with Assistant U.S. Attorney General Amy Solomon and the Civil Rights Division, delivering a letter requesting a “pattern and practice” investigation of law enforcement in the Pasquotank County region.
Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the N.C. NAACP said that he and the civil rights organization were “well received.”