A group of clergy members in Lakeland is urging people to remain calm and not rush to judgment following the deadly shooting of a teenager by local police.
The Lakeland International Ministerial Alliance (IMA) and other local clergy made the request during a press conference Friday morning. They said the death of Michael Jerome Taylor, 17, is under investigation and asked that people pass along video or audio of the incident to detectives.
Taylor was shot and killed by Lakeland Police Department officers early Wednesday morning. Taylor was in a stolen Camaro in a restaurant parking lot where 150-200 people had gathered after a nearby nightclub closed.
Lakeland police say Taylor tried to run officers over when they approached the car and the officers shot at him.
LPD released surveillance video of the incident. Police have been criticized for shooting Taylor and some people have held protests.
The IMA is asking for the public to remain calm and said they are praying for those involved.
“We are asking for the public to remain calm, and not rush to judgement but rather let the investigation take its course. We are praying for the family of our deceased brother and the officers involved,” said Rev. Eddie Lake of New Bethel AME Church.