Families seek removal of local judge over alleged bias

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - About two dozen people are rallying together for two cases. The connection: claims against one judge.

The family of Emmanuel Ivey says his defense for a November shooting is the Stand Your Ground law, with his mother claiming he was only protecting himself from people who showed up to his home and threatened him.

“The son is not perfect, he’s 16, he’s not perfect. But at the end of the end, at that moment, my son’s life was in danger. At that moment,” Bridget Ivey, the mother said.

Emmanuel was charged with aggravated assault. Judge Daniel Craig denied the teen’s bond last week.

Within that hour, the family says, Judge Craig granted bond to Terrance Cumber who is charged with possession of a gun and the shooting death of Ahmad Popal. The murder charge set for $4,000. A decision the family of Popal highly disagreed with.

“It was like a slap on our face. We were not done grieving with my brother’s death,” Farida Farmer, a family member, said.

When asked, District Attorney Natalie Paine said a bond amount of $4,000 is very “uncommon.”

More protesters who shared similar stories on bond denials are adamant this reveals the judge’s racial bias.

“I’m pretty sure it’s that,” one said.

“This should’ve not happened. This is favoritism,” another said.

“So, we are here. We are grieving. And we are here to bring justice.”

Judge Craig’s office told us that he does not comment on pending cases. While people familiar with him argue he’s a fair leader on the bench.

We looked at bond research on claims related to bias. Federal reports determined the judicial system was not free of it, outlining they’ve found across the county “race and ethnicity affect the decision to grant bail.”

And the Prison Policy Initiative data reveals inmates of color, waiting on their case to be heard due to no bond or can’t afford to pay it, make up more than half of jail populations.

As this group calls for the two cases to be re-examined for bond, they’re also seeking a county-wide level of judicial reform.

“I’m very disappointed at the system right now,” Farmer said.

“And we see that there’s a double standard when it comes to black, when it comes to people of color, when it comes to Muslims and other minorities,” said Abdullah Jaber, a community advocate.

Again, we reached to Craig to get some context on the rulings and the “uncommon” $4,000 murder charge. The office clerk said it won’t be issuing a statement.

As for the families, they want Craig’s removal, Emmanuel Ivey’s bond to be granted and Terrance Cumber’s bond to be revoked.

Cumber also had bond granted on a gun possession charge for nearly $8,000. According to District Attorney Natalie Paine, when Cumber was granted bond, he did get the option to agree to conditions of not traveling out of town. If he breaks those conditions, he will have to the pay the $4,000 bond.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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