Three Black family men, who were killed by police in separate incidences all during the first week of Dec. -- Michael Dean, Cameron Lamb, and Demetrius Williams -- collectively had 11 children, “who are now all left fatherless,” Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt told BET.
Merritt is representing all three families of the victims and spoke to BET in a phone interview on Dec. 11 about the cases and how the families want the men to be remembered.
“Each one of these families wants their loved ones to be known as being fathers,” Merritt said.
“These were great fathers. Every one of them,” he continued. “We’re talking about great fathers to 11 different children, who are now all left fatherless. These were children who saw their fathers every day. I’ve met these children because when I’ve come out to meet the families, they’re always present and they’re wondering where their dad is.”
Michael Dean, a 28-year-old father of three, who worked the night shift at an automotive parts warehouse, was fatally shot in the head on Dec. 2 in Temple, Texas, located 70 miles northeast of Austin, the Associated Press reports.
Dean’s family maintains he was unarmed and are demanding Carmen DeCruz, the officer who shot Dean, be fired.
Merritt told The AP on Wednesday (Dec. 11) the silence from authorities is “completely unfair and particularly cruel.”
“I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen a case where there was absolutely no narrative, even if it was one that was later proved wrong,” Merritt told The AP.
Temple Interim Police Chief Jim Tobin said at a news conference on Friday (Dec. 6) that while he understood the “concerns and questions” of Dean’s family and the community, he plans to answer them following the completion of the investigation.
“If my son was in the wrong, so be it,” his mother, Christine Dean told reporters, Fox44 reports. “But why is he dead? He didn’t deserve to be shot down. Nobody can give me answers. If he was in the wrong there would [be] a whole story out there, wouldn’t there?”
“It was Dean’s daughter’s sixth birthday and he was out getting her a cake when he was killed,” Merritt told BET.
BET reached out to Dean’s father for comment and is awaiting a response.
Cameron Lamb was just 26-years-old when on Dec. 3 he was killed by Kansas City police while he was at home in his car in the backyard. He was a father of three small children, who are all between the ages of six and 21-months-old.
“Cameron was my baby,” his mother, Laurie Bey told BET in a phone interview on Thursday (Dec. 12). “He’s my youngest, he has two older siblings, two sisters by me. And Cameron, he was a boy. He was always handy with his hands.”
Bey described Lamb as “very loving” and recalled how she’d purchase toy cars “that he had to put together” when he was just a boy. Fixing vehicles is eventually what he’d go on to do for work, and what he was doing on the day he was killed in his backyard.
“I always used to tell him when he was a boy, ‘When you grow up you could be an auto mechanic,’” Bey said.
“And he found out that that’s what he really loved to do. It was not anything that he went and sought training for. But he watched a lot of videos and he went on YouTube,” she added about Lamb, who had recently started an at-home business called “Cam’s Gifted Hands.”
“He was really into that and in fact, the morning before the crime happened [and he was killed], that’s what he was doing. He was working on a vehicle,” she said.
Aside from being an ambitious young man, Bey said her son was someone his family and friends could rely on in times of need.
“He was someone you could depend on. If you needed him for anything he wouldn’t hesitate to go and help out in any way that he could,” she said.
“He was crazy about his kids,” Bey continued, adding how he was doing everything he could to better himself and provide a solid foundation and home for his three boys. “They had a very special relationship. It’s been really hard on the family.”
The Lamb family finds Cameron’s tragic death suspicious and they want the officer who used deadly force to be held accountable, KCTV5 reports.
“The video I posted of the three boys with Mr. Lamb (on Twitter), it breaks my heart because those boys are my boys’ age,” Merritt told BET. “I have three boys.”
Demetrius Williams, 31, was a father of five, who was fatally shot by Marshall, Texas police on Dec. 5.
“My son deserves justice,” Williams’ mother, Carolyn Jefferson, told ABC’s KTBS3. “He didn’t deserve to be killed the way he was killed.”
“One thing about Demetrius is, he never came out and disrespected anybody,” his cousin, Deaundre Miles told KTBS3, adding that Williams was a “good person.”
BET reached out to Williams’ mother requesting comment and is awaiting a response.
Like Dean, Williams lost his life on his child’s birthday, Merritt told BET.
“Ironically, it was Demetrius’ daughter’s birthday when he was killed,” Merritt said. “So, that’s what struck a nerve for me with these cases and that’s what struck a nerve in the community as well. Our fathers are being taken away.”
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