Racist Posts On Social Media Spark Outrage After Leesville Pedestrian Struck And Killed [PHOTOS]
The story behind the #Justice4Rell hashtag is one that is disgusting and absolutely heartbreaking.
Earlier this week, a 31-year-old Leesville man by the name of Sherell Lewis stopped his vehicle on the side of US 171 around 3 p.m. to remove debris from the roadway. Authorities say that's when he was struck by a 2003 Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by 18-year-old Matthew Martin of Hineston, LA.
According to Master Trooper Scott Moreau, Martin was wearing his seatbelt and suffered no injuries, but unfortunately, Lewis was pronounced dead at an Alexandria hospital after he succumbed to his injuries during medical treatment.
Lewis was a well-known barber in the area who owned his own shop along the same road where he was killed. According to numerous posts on social media, Sonny Boyz Barber and Beauty was a place where Lewis gave advice to friends, neighbors, and the youth. His older sister Shotoya Lewis-Ayers said Sherell was known for his smile and his positive attitude.
He would have helped anybody that needed, help no matter what. If you were feeling down, he would always make jokes, crack you up, keep you smiling.
Police questioned Matthew Martin at the scene along with others who witnessed the incident, and while Tuesday's crash is currently under investigation, many in the local community of Vernon Parish are outraged at what Matthew Martin reportedly did AFTER the accident.
Warning: These images and tweets contain NSFW language that is racist and vulgar.
Screenshots of an alleged Snapchat conversation between Martin and a friend show the 18-year-old using the n-word to describe Lewis as he laughed about the tragedy that had just taken place.
Y’all, I just hit a whole guy on the highway.
Martin added laughing emojis to his message as he told another friend that he hit "some n---er" on the highway and seemed more concerned with the damage that "f---ed up" his truck than Lewis—the man he killed in the accident.
Local Sheriff John S. Craft was "appalled" by the messages that circulated on social media.
I am appalled at the content of the social media messages that were posted after the incident. This post is unacceptable and has no place in our society. The inflammatory words that were used were morally wrong. I have the utmost confidence in the Louisiana State Police and their ability to thoroughly investigate this incident. I encourage any citizen who has information regarding the accident to contact the Louisiana State Police – Troop E, Alexandria, La. (318) 487-5911.
While these messages are absolutely disgusting, Craft points out that they "didn't violate any Louisiana criminal code." Although there is nothing legally wrong with what Martin did, locals are rallying for justice and pressing authorities to investigate the 18-year-old for vehicular homicide.
The hashtag #Justice4Rell has gone national as multiple media outlets have picked up the stories and tweets continue to roll in support of Lewis in the wake of this tragic event.
Tuesday's accident remains under investigation.