To the editor,
Those of you in this community know me to be a Christ-centered, community-oriented pastor that has proven to have a heart for all people and the community that I serve. It saddens me to have to bring to light some concerns that I feel will have a major impact on our community.
Many of you are aware of the pending trial concerning the death of a young youth by the name of Chris Griffin that transpired in the alley behind E-Z Mart gas station in Mineola. It has been four years since this tragic incident and the affected families and this community have yet to see this case come to trial.
I have personally in good faith sat back and consoled grieving family members and ministered to members of this community asking them to keep the faith and trust our legal system, only to have this case not subject to the Sixth Amendment fair and speedy trial. This community and all families involved cannot heal until this case has been tried by a fair and impartial jury and a verdict handed down.
It is with a heavy heart that I must say that I am truly disappointed with our District Attorney Jim Wheeler in the handling of this case. Each year he has given excuses with no real validity to why the case couldn’t be tried. None of which truly had anything to do with the facts or evidence of this case.
The trial was put off again in the spring of 2017 for the sixth time and I contacted Mr. Wheeler in October 2017 to discuss my concerns. I shared with him that I have done everything humanly possible to support the legal process and keep outside parties from protesting which would not be in our community’s best interest. He assured me that he would be trying the case and that it would go to trial in April 2018 – only to find out this April Mr. Wheeler stepped down from that case.
Whether his intentions are politically or personally motivated I don’t know and don’t want to speculate, but there must be some accountability. What I do know is that families are hurting and grieving over the waste of precious time and taxpayers’ money and they deserve some answers.
The handling of this case is unacceptable and Mr. Wheeler should take some accountability for his actions. I believe that he should do the humble, responsible and honorable thing and at least come before these grieving families with an apology for his actions and his shortcomings in the handling of this case. I also believe he should make a public apology to this community for putting them at risk from outside entities coming in and destroying the unity we have worked so hard to build, and for wasting taxpayers’ time and money.
On Thursday, May 24 at 6 p.m. I will have a prayer and communication meeting at St. Paul MBC located at 304 Stone Street. I have invited District Attorney Jim Wheeler to that meeting along with Mineola PD to offer any sentiments to this community without disclosing any prevalent information that may harm the case.
I also would ask that all of our community as well as its leaders please come to this peaceful prayer and communication meeting to show community support for all parties involved and for closure of this case. We should not let the shortcomings of a few separate what God is doing with our community as a whole. We will be praying for healing, forgiveness, restoration and closure for our community and all parties involved. Remember, “A community that prays together, stays together.” I pray I see you there.
God bless you and our community.
Rev. Demethrius Boyd