Sei sulla pagina 1di 1

The Sudanese Community Association of Maine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Tuesday, May 12th 2009
CONTACT: Daniel G. Lilley Law Offices, 207 774-6206 for questions regarding David Okot
Sudanese Community Association for questions regarding community safety
Angelo Okot (no relation to David), Chairman @207 450-4343 and aaokot122@yahoo.com
Sarah, Espichio, Secretary @ 207 775-5249 and nyalingwa@netzero.com

SUDANESE COMMUNITY LIVING IN FEAR IN PORTLAND, MAINE


Devastated community writes to Maine Governor seeking justice after three young Sudanese men
are killed in less than a year and half in Portland

Portland, Maine -- The Sudanese Community Association sent an open letter to Governor
Baldacci and Attorney General Mills today stating their concern about Sudanese people’s basic
safety in Maine and asking for an immediate meeting. The letter lists several violent incidents and
killings that have devastated the Sudanese community in the recent past. In the last 17 months
three young Sudanese men have been violently killed in Portland, Maine.

Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 Sudanese live work and raise families in Maine, the state they call
home. Most are residents of Portland where many have lived for over 15 years. The number of
violent deaths and incidents the Sudanese community has suffered is grossly disproportionate for
the City and State. “We are living in fear because the violence impacting our community is on the
rise and there are no signs of justice or resolutions,” says Angelo Okot, Chairman of the
Association (no relation to David Okot). “These incidences take away hopes I have for our
children and replace it with anxiety,” says Edward Laboke, a community member and
spokesperson in the September 2008 shooting of James Angelo.

After the murder of 27-year-old James Angelo in September of 2008, the Sudanese community
sent a letter to the Mayor of Portland, documenting several cases of violent incidents against the
Sudanese community. With no progress on the incidents since September, the community is now
writing an open letter to the Governor asking for justice. This letter is prompted by the latest
tragic death in April 2009, where 26-year-old David Okot was shot and killed by police, having
his body dragged down a flight of stairs and up the street. The incidents are list below:

1. April 2009: David Okot, 26, is shot multiple times and killed by Portland Police. His body is
dragged down a flight of stairs, up the street and left for hours.
2. September 2008: James Angelo, 27, is murdered while working as a security guard at Mercy
Hospital. No arrest has been made.
3. March 2008: Gunshots are fired at Sudanese family’s apartment on Hammond St. almost
wounding their three-year-old daughter. No arrest has been made.
4. December 2007: A 20 year-old Sudanese man is shot and seriously injured on Elm St. No
arrest has been made, although there is a suspect, now in a different country.
5. November 2007: Edward Okeny, 26, dies of injuries after being beaten in the Bayside
Neighborhood. Portland Police and Medical Examiner claim it cannot be determined if he
was beaten or if he fell.
6. July 2006: A Sudanese man is beaten in Riverton Park. No arrest has been made.
7. January 2000: A young Sudanese man is shot on Wharf Street. An arrest was made.
8. May 1998: Two Sudanese teen-agers are assaulted by Portland Police. A federal court jury
finds the officer unlawfully detained the youth, used at excessive force and barked at them
“Welcome to America” including a racial epithet. There have been other incidents involving
police abuse against the Sudanese community, which are being documented

In the conclusion of the letter the Sudanese Community Association states that they will continue
to meet with local and state officials but want measurable change, especially in the culture,
conduct and accountability of the Portland Police Department. They ask for increased safety for
their community and all Portland and Maine residents. The full letter is attached.
###