On Saturday, October 6, approximately 1:30am, a young University of South Alabama student walked up to the campus police station and banged on the windows of the building. An officer, Trevis Austin, stepped out and found the student, 18-year old Gil Collar, naked and “behaving erratically”. There has been a lot of hearsay and misinformation spread around about the incident, from what kind of drugs Collar was using, to whether or not Gil bit the officer or in some way made an “aggressive gesture.” What is known is that Gil Collar was unarmed, and that the officer shot Collar in the chest at point blank range, killing him. Along with national news coverage, the killing also sparked public outrage. Members of the student body, along with students close to Collar, organized a protest outside the campus police office where Collar was killed the following Wednesday.
Members of Mobile Socialist Alternative were there to show their outrage at the needless death of this young man, and to see that awareness was raised of this tragedy. Below you can find a copy of the flyer that Socialist Alternative members in Mobile, AL handed out at this protest. The leaflet was written by Jason Carey and Ryan Mosgrove.
Since that day, more information has come out about the killing. True to form, the Campus Police originally did everything they could to hide to evidence around the shooting, and made empty threats in hopes of shifting the blame; for instance Sheriff Sam Cochran at one point announced that he planned to charge the person who gave him the drugs with murder. At the time of this article, the security footage of that night has been reviewed by members of the press including Huffington post who reports that when the officer opened fire “Collar approaches Austin with his arms outstretched and palms open toward Austin.”
The attorney representing the Collar family has also said “I can tell you without reservation nothing we saw in the videotape justified the use of deadly force in this case.” It has also been revealed that the officer had both pepper spray and a baton that he could have used, did not wait for backup before he confronted Collar, and the time between making visual contact with Collar and pulling the trigger lasted all of about 30 seconds. Beasley adds that “the fact that he came to the police station indicates that he was not necessarily looking for trouble. In fact, I think he was looking for help.”