A Tennessee store clerk was found guilty this weekend for killing a 17-year-old who stole a beer last March.
What We Know:
- Anwar Ghazali shot and killed 17-year-old Dorian Harris after he stole two cans of beer from Top Stop Shop in Memphis, Tennessee. Ghazali followed Harris out of the store and shot him multiple times. The incident was caught on security video. Ghazali did not call the police but did tell witnesses in the store “I think I shot him.” Harris’ body was found dead two days later with at least three gunshot wounds; he bled out in a yard near the store from a gunshot wound in his leg.
- Following the three day trial, Ghazali will be sentenced September 23; he has been found guilty of second-degree murder and now faces 15-20 years in prison. Witnesses and family of Harris appeared on the stand accusing Ghazali of the crime. “I am just lost. I am lost that this murderer took my son away from me…Why was it that he was left there like that? Like he was nothing. Like he was nobody,” Harris’ father said.
- Initially, Ghazali faced first-degree murder charges, which would have put him behind bars for life. But, Ghazali maintains he had no intent to kill Harris and that he shot at him in an effort to scare him. His lawyer, Blake Ballin, claims Ghazali did not report the incident to police because he did not believe he actually shot Harris. Ghazali was initially arrested in April 2018.
- The shooting inspired protests and national attention. The store was shutdown to turn over management but shortly reopened. The neighborhood organized protests at the store after its reopening, at which multiple protesters were detained and arrested by police.
- Many have taken to social media with #DorianHarris to express outrage at the petty crime that resulted in a young man’s death. Daughter of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Bernice King, took to Twitter to point out what Harris’ death means for the broader Black Lives Matter movement.
Dear #Memphis: I’m here in your city. #DorianHarris should be here, too. If we don’t value black lives and believe that Dorian’s life is worth far more than an allegedly stolen beer, then we’re not authentically honoring my father. #MLK50Forward https://t.co/wzjKKRI1zj
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 3, 2018
Dorian Harris’ death comes in a time of heightened national debate about gun control laws and gun violence in the United States.