Okaloosa deputy fired, news conference held by Airman Fortson’s family and attorney Ben Crump

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – The death of Airman Roger Fortson continues to make headlines across the country.

Fortson was shot and killed by a former Okaloosa County deputy in his apartment on May 3. On Friday, the sheriff’s office revealed the deputy had been fired.

Fortson’s family, his family’s attorney and others are now responding.

“I want justice for my child. You’re not going to throw me a bone,” Chantemekki Fortson, Roger Fortson’s mother, said at a conference in Atlanta on Monday.

NAACP Okaloosa County Chapter President Sabu Williams said while the former deputy’s recall is a step in the right direction, the fight for justice is not over.

“It looks like the sheriff’s office has caught up with what everyone else was thinking,” Williams said. “The NAACP has been asking since the beginning, when we saw the body camera footage, and what would happen is, we believe, that the officer should be held accountable. He should be held accountable and face a jury of his peers.”

Fortson’s family and attorney echoed those statements at their conference Monday in Atlanta.

“It would be a travesty of justice, I think, if there are no charges,” said attorney Ben Crump. “I mean, you’re in your own house. You are in your own home. If you can’t be safe in the sanctity of your own home, where can you be safe?”

Williams said change needs to happen, not just locally, but across the country.

“It happens too often where we see, especially with black people, that judgment is the first to shoot and the second to ask questions. I think now is the time for us as a county to step back and say, ‘What are we doing to change this?’” Williams said.

Williams went on to say that the NAACP Okaloosa County Branch is taking steps toward that change. He said they will host a workshop in Crestview toward the end of June to teach youth how to effectively interact and communicate with law enforcement. NewsChannel 7 will post workshop details and how to register when that information becomes available.

NewsChannel 7 reached out to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office for comment, but was told the sheriff would have no further comment at this time.

We have also reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an update on their investigation into the incident. FDLE representatives sent back the following statement:

“At the request of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the FDLE is investigating their agency’s deputy-involved shooting on May 3rd at an apartment complex on Racetrack Road NW in Okaloosa County. Our investigation remains active. FDLE’s role is to investigate the deputy’s use of force, and we will present the findings of our investigations to the local State’s Attorney’s office. Our case remains active pending the completion of the prosecutors’ review and findings. Each investigation is thorough and unique, and there is no definitive timeline for completion.”