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Ellerbe anniversary to be marked by wreath-laying ceremony
by dm Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003 at 1:36 PM

From People Against Police Violence: Ellerbe anniversary to be marked by wreath-laying ceremony

People Against Police Violence

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Contact: Darlene Dennis, PAPV Uniontown, 724-437-9218
Renee Wilson, PAPV Pittsburgh, 412-657-4268 (cellular)

TOMORROW, Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Time: 2:10 PM
Location: Fayette County Courthouse
61 East Main St., Uniontown, PA

Ellerbe anniversary to be marked by wreath-laying ceremony
12-year-old shot and killed by state police last Christmas Eve

The death of 12-year-old Michael Ellerbe at the hands of state police officers on December 24th of last year will be remembered tomorrow in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Fayette County Courthouse in Uniontown.

Part protest and part remembrance, the ceremony will be attended by Michaels parents, Renee Randolph and Michael Higgenbotham, as well as other family members along with friends and activists from Uniontown and Pittsburgh. The ceremony will commence at 2:10 PM and a wreath will be laid at 2:20 PM, the precise time of the afternoon at which Michael was killed.

Young Michael was shot in the back and killed with a single shot through the heart at 2:20 PM on Christmas Eve. Police allege that Michael ran from a stolen car. According to their statements, state police troopers Samuel Nassan and Juan Curry pursued Michael. Curry claimed that he fell while climbing a fence and that his gun discharged accidentally. Nassan claims that he heard the shot, saw Curry fall, and thought Michael had shot Curry. So he shot Ellerbe. It was later revealed that Michael was not armed.

An eyewitness says Curry did not fall, and deliberately fired his weapon. The bullet that passed through Ellerbe, killing him, has not been recovered. Nevertheless, after a one day hearing, the Fayette County Coroners jury recommended that no charges be filed against the officers. After a brief investigation, Fayette County District Attorney Nancy Vernon declined to file charges. There is a federal investigation pending.

About People Against Police Violence PAPV was founded in December of 2002 and works with the families of victims to advocate for justice for the victims of police violence, increase community awareness, and demand that guilty cops serve maximum prison sentences.

Community House, Suite 420
801 Union Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5523
412-322-1330 office
412-657-4268 cell
412-322-1327 fax

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