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December 24, 2005
Rush to judgment

The front page headlines in the December 22 edition of the weekly Cairo Citizen newspaper contained the words "suspicious" and "murdered." The article was about the recent death of Demetrius Flowers in the Cairo city jail. There is an ongoing investigation into his death.

In the article, Rev. Koen is quoted as saying, "Our prediction during the election of the type of people surrounding Mayor Farris will bring devastation to Cairo, has come to pass. Speaking on behalf of the family, it is our strong belief that Mr. Flowers was murdered." The article also quoted him as stating that the election "has brought the Klan back to Cairo."

Wonderful. Let's start quoting everyone who relays words said by family members, in anger and shock, after the death of a loved one. Rev. Koen was inciting racial distrust with his "Klan" and 'murder' references. Yes, a thorough investigation by an outside agency was in order, but Rev. Koen's statement was unfortunate & unprofessional.

How can anyone assess the circumstances and draw a sound conclusion regarding Mr. Flowers' death without knowing the facts? What Mr. Koen said & the Citizen printed, were the words of grieving family members. Did the Reverend counsel the family to reserve judgment?

We don't know the facts yet. There were numerous cameras in the jail. We need to wait to find out what is on those cameras. The Cairo Citizen and Rev. Koen acted irresponsibly. And that's my opinion.

BTW: The Southeast Missourian printed that Flowers' aunt, Mareva Parnell said the Flowers' family "has suspected foul play ever since authorities didn't contact family members until three hours after the death and didn't let them identify the body."

I learned of Demetrius' death from Barbara's uncle, who told me he and Barbara had just identified Demetrius' body.

Demetrius' death is surrounded by unanswered questions and conflicting stories/quotes in the press. For now, we must wait to find out what the cameras reveal. And let the family grieve in private.

© 2005 The Cairo Gate