Deadly shooting of Black teen roils liberal town

Deadly shooting of Black teen roils liberal town

The killing of a young Black male last month by a white male who complained that he was playing loud music has roiled Ashland, Oregon

December 3, 2020, 11: 36 PM

4 minutes read

SALEM, Ore.– The killing of a young Black guy last month by a white male who complained that he was playing loud music has actually roiled Ashland, Oregon, requiring the liberal college town that is well-known for its Shakespeare festival to take a tough look at race relations.

The death of Aidan Ellison, 19, included another name to the list of Black men and women whose killings have actually triggered a nationwide reckoning with racism and fueled a rise in a Black Lives Matter movement.

” What can be stated about this teen who had lots of spirit? He was just starting on his lifelong journey when he was taken from us,” Ellison’s family said in a declaration launched by his mother, Andrea Wofford. “Enough suffices. How many Black men need to pass away before this neighborhood takes hate criminal activities seriously?”

On Nov. 23, Robert Keegan fired a single shot into Ellison’s chest after grumbling about the music late at night in a motel parking area. He is being held without bail after pleading innocent to second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges.

Keegan, 47, is from the close-by small town of Skill, which was heavily harmed in a wildfire in September. He and Ellison were both remaining at the motel but apparently did not know each other before that night.

Keegan declared Ellison punched him in the face which he fired in self-defense, according to court records. A police officer reported that Keegan had no noticeable injuries to his face and that an autopsy revealed no injuries to Ellison’s hands that would have shown he had struck Keegan.

Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara stated investigators have not found any evidence that would support predisposition criminal offense charges against Keegan.

However Ashland Mayor-elect Julie Akins stated she believes bigotry lagged the shooting.

” I can speak as a member of the white-bodied neighborhood in stating it is past time we take stock of systemic racism, which continues to cause the death of our bros and sis of color,” Akins stated in a statement. “It’s not a coincidence that a white guy, according to cops, selected to take the life of a young Black male for the offense of playing his music. This is at the root of bigotry.”

The FBI is working with the Ashland Cops Department to examine whether federal laws might have been violated, the authorities department revealed Thursday.

On Wednesday night, a crowd of individuals based on a lawn outside the Jackson County Justice Structure in close-by Medford for a vigil for Ellison. Numerous Black men and women mentioned how they had actually been racially profiled or stigmatized, and they mourned for the young life that was offed.

Ashland, a city of 21,000 individuals that lies at the foot of a mountain range near the California border, is house to Southern Oregon University and hosts the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of individuals each year from around the country for plays.

Sprayed with coffee shops and stylish restaurants, Ashland is thought about a hip town in a conservative part of Oregon. In keeping with the Shakespeare theme, a number of the neighborhood’s buildings have Tudor-style architecture. The motel where the shooting happened is the Stratford Inn, remembering Shakespeare’s birth place of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Only 1.4%of Ashland citizens are Black, and 92.5%are white, according to the census. Oregon has a racist history– the state constitution as soon as prohibited Blacks from residing in the state. Subsequently the state has a disproportionately low Black population compared to much of the rest of the United States.

Black activists in Ashland say the killing has actually exposed the town’s undercurrent of bigotry.

” Ashland likes to believe that it is an utopia, however it isn’t,” activist Valuable Edmonds informed Oregon Public Broadcasting. “I do not feel more safe due to the fact that I’m here in Ashland. And sadly, Aidan’s murder is just an example of why that holds true.”

Ellison’s death remembered the killing precisely 8 years earlier of Jordan Davis, a Black 17- year-old high school trainee, who was gunned down by a white male in Florida following an argument over loud music. Michael Dunn was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in jail.

The Oregon shooting has brought in nationwide attention. A lobby group headed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who made it through being shot in the head in 2011, called the slaying “senseless.”

” Listening to music should never ever end in death. The presence of a weapon turns conflicts deadly, and the victims are disproportionately individuals of color,” the group said on Facebook.


Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at

ABC News

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