(AUGUSTA, GA, 7/06/2020) – Today, the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) will co-host a news conference with CSRA Street Justice, National Action Network, and community advocates and members in Augusta, Ga., to condemn Judge Daniel Craig’s release of Terrence Cumber, despite the District Attorney’s Office’s recommendation that bond be denied. Cumber was charged with the murder of Ahmad Popal and possession of a firearm during a felony.
What: News Conference Condemning Judge Daniel Craig’s Release of Terrence Cumber
When: Monday, July 6th, 12 P.M. ET
Where: 735 James Brown Boulevard, Augusta, GA 30901
In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Legal and Policy Director Murtaza Khwaja said:
“While CAIR-Georgia remains committed to restorative justice and the eradication of the cash bail system due to its criminalizing of poverty,** we stand firmly with the Augusta community to advocate for our criminal justice system to treat all criminal defendants equally. “
** Cash bail perpetuates inequities in the justice system that are disproportionately felt by communities of color and those experiencing poverty.
In the early hours of June 21, 2020, a 23-year-old Georgia Muslim man, Ahmad Popal, was shot and killed in the 1200 block of Broad Street in Augusta, Georgia outside The Scene nightclub.
Ahmad had been in an altercation earlier with the suspect before he was shot by Terrence Cumber, 24, who was promptly arrested.
On Thursday, July 2nd, 2020, Cumber was released from the custody of Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at Charles Webster Detention Center following his bond hearing. Superior Court Judge Daniel Craig set a $4,000 bond on the murder charge despite the District Attorney’s Office’s recommendation that bond be denied. A $7,900 bond had already been set on the weapon charge.
See: Judge Sets suspected club shooter’s bond at $4,000
CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Abdullah Jaber added:
“A $4,000 bond for an alleged murder charge is unacceptable, particularly given the brazen and public nature of this murder. Our communities cannot be safe when we have a system that time and again disproportionately discriminates against black and brown people. Justice must be impartial and objective for all. We are not safe when suspected killers walk free while their victims lay dead in the ground and their families are left without answers. Terrence Cumber needs to be held accountable for his alleged actions. The community will not settle for less than justice.”
CAIR-Georgia Legal and Policy Director Murtaza Khwaja said:
“There is no justice when criminal defendants are routinely set bail for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, for far lesser offenses while Mr. Cumber is set bail for $4,000 for the alleged murder of a Muslim American. Muslim Americans and indeed, people of color as a whole, Muslim or not, deserve the same protections that are afforded to all Americans. The American criminal justice system continues to overly police, incarcerate and prosecute individuals of color, particularly Black Americans, at disproportionate rates while exercising brash leniency towards criminal defendants in cases where people of color are themselves the victims.
“Judge Craig’s inexplicable decision to set bail for a charge of murder at $4,000 is an affront to all principles of justice and to the memory of Ahmad Popal, especially when the bail set for the possession of firearm charge was almost double that set for murder. All lives have value and rather than Judge Craig upholding this principle in his courtroom, he exercised extraordinary and reckless discretion in releasing Mr. Cumber against the recommendation of the District Attorney.
“Judge Craig made clear that Muslims and people of color will not be protected when the perpetrators are white. This arbitrary decision harkens back to the Jim Crow South and has as little place in Judge Craig’s courtroom now and as it did in America then.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-Georgia Legal & Advocacy Director Murtaza Khwaja, [email protected]; CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Abdullah Jaber, [email protected]