The night Kom'boa Ervin was released from prison, a 66 year old African American man, Wadie Sutters, arrested on vagrancy charges, was beaten to death by his jailers in Chattanooga. The Concerned Citizens for Justice was formed, and as its president, Kom'boa Ervin helped organize demonstrations and protests to pressure the police and politicians to stop the killings. (Documents released in 1987 showed that in a 10 year period in Chattanooga, over 25 unarmed individuals had been murdered by police officers.)
The CCJ was influential in creating the Ad Hoc Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, comprised of organizations all over the South that have been active in organizing against klan and police violence. In 1987, they filed a class action lawsuit against federal voting rights violations which resulted in the election of a new nine-member city council (four Blacks) and the first Black police chief being hired by the city. No Black had been elected to political office in Chattanooga in nearly 100 years.
Kom'boa Ervin now resides in Atlanta, GA where he is one of the founders of the Justice for Jerry Jackson Committee. On December 7, 1995, Jerry Jackson, was gunned down by city police officers as he lay on the ground begging for his life. He was shot five times in all. The D.A. has announced his intention to file murder charges against the officers after witnesses to the crime refused to recant their testimony and after a series of protests led by the committee and the mother of Mr. Jackson.
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