LIMA — A protest Saturday in downtown Lima was held to call attention to the failure of an Allen County Grand Jury to indict Zachary Copeland for the Nov. 18 shooting death of 16-year-old Mekhi Williams in the 300 block of South Scott Street in Lima.
“We are here to protest the zero charges of a man, who according to the police report … (made) a deliberate decision to deputize himself to become the police instead of calling the police,” said Rev. Ronald Fails, president of the Lima NAACP chapter. “He (Copeland) had an opportunity to notify the police that the place where he lived had been broken into, though he didn’t even know who broke into it.”
Police arrested Copeland that night but he was released after the initial investigation ruled he acted in self-defense.
A video of the incident shows Williams approach Copeland from behind. Williams wrestled a firearm away from Copeland and pointed the firearm at him but Copeland then used a second firearm he had to shoot Williams in what police and prosecutors determined to be self-defense.
The Allen County Grand Jury met on Dec. 15, examined the evidence and declined to issue an indictment.
One of the protesters who blocked traffic on North Main Street was Curtis Shannon Jr., who last year, organized a couple of Black Lives Matter protests through downtown Lima. He was a close friend of Williams and is still seeking answers surrounding his death.
“He (Copeland) was always seen as the victim of this crime. He was not charged whatsoever or held on bond so for us to sit here today, we want to know why wasn’t he held. Why wasn’t he charged with anything in relation to the murder that he just committed,” Shannon said.
Joeann Brown is the mother of Mekhi Williams.
She believes police and prosecutors failed to do their jobs.
“I want a thorough investigation done for my son, for his justice because that is unfair to my 16-year-old son. (I want to see) a jury of his peers, not ones that they choose who they want,” Brown said.
Fails is calling for Chief Kevin Martin to step down.
“Quit. We don’t need you. Close this police station down. If we’re not going to respect law and utilize law when the law is broken. We don’t need you,” Fails said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.