WILMINGTON, Delaware– In a police shooting that has largely flown under the national radar, Jeremy “Bam Bam” McDole, 28, was shot and killed by the Wilmington police as he sat in his wheelchair last year. The manner of his demise was nothing short of horrific, say residents. According to eyewitness accounts, the police were called to the scene allegedly responding to a man in a wheelchair who tried to commit suicide and shot himself.
In video footage the officer is observed demanding Mr. McDole put his hands up. When he fails to comply one of the officers fires his Family of wheelchair bound man, shot by police seeks answers shotgun, striking him. Mr. McDole is seen bleeding from the neck area. The police continue demanding the wounded man put his hands in the air and drop the gun. Mr. McDole then appears to attempt to push himself up from the wheelchair When the cadre of police officers opened fire hitting him 16 times, instantly killing him as he is observed falling from his wheelchair. Police said they found a 38-caliber gun at the scene.
Members of Mr. McDole’s family call what happened a case of murder, pointing out there are so many different ways the police could have responded given the circumstances. In the months that have followed the September 23 shooting, the family said they have been largely abandoned by the community and have received no answers from the authorities. The four police officers involved in the killing have remained anonymous, their names not revealed. The case is under investigation by the Wilmington Police and the Delaware Department of Justice Office.
Family spokesperson and community activist Robert Bovel told The Final Call, currently community leaders and clergy are looking for transparency. The family needs transparency from the Justice Department, he said.
“Right now the officers involved in the murder are still working, being paid by our tax dollars. Their names have not been released and there is nothing forthcoming from the police department. The family is demanding justice,” Mr. Bovel said. He added that the family is asking the officers involved be relieved of their duty especially the one with the shotgun.
According to published reports after the shooting, Wilmington Chief of Police Bobby Cummings stated he viewed the video and believes his officers acted appropriately. “Police had told him repeatedly to put his gun down. The officers perceived what was a threat and they responded and they engaged,” said Chief Cummings. The Final Call contacted the police department for comment but was informed the case was under investigation and no comments were forthcoming at this time.
The family’s most consistent community support has come from student Minister Robert Muhammad and Muhammad Mosque No. 35 in Wilmington. He told The Final Call, the role of the mosque has been to provide the family with the support and guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
“Any questions or concerns the family may have, we are providing the family with those answers. The mosque has been involved since the beginning. The more controversial the situation became unfortunately the pastors and politicians who were initially on board fled,” said Student Minister Muhammad.
“It left the family questioning where their help would come from. So we are taught we don’t run from a fight, we run to the fight especially when our people are suffering a gross injustice such as this.”
The family has held consistent marches and has not taken no for an answer in their continued fight, for justice, according to Student Minister Muhammad. There have been three marches and a forth one was planned during the observation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Mr. McDole’s sister, Keandra Mc- Dole, has been taking the lead in maintaining a presence in the community. She added the press has been doing all they can to disparage not only her brother but her mother Phyllis McDole as well.
“Don’t be so quick to judge,” she said. “God blessed us all with two eyes. From the video it is clear my brother did not have any weapon at all. It bothers me that some people still say he had a weapon when clearly none was present,” said Ms. McDole.
“To the community of Wilmington, I would like to say something that was taught to me by my mother. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. We need the support of the community. We can’t fight this alone,” she said.