On Friday and Saturday, December 17-18, 2021, the family of Jarvis Lykes, gathered with community members, activists and organizers from around the country to remember his life. The family used the commemorative weekend as an opportunity to speak out against gun violence in the community, particularly police brutality. The events, which began with a motorcade each day, were the brainchild of Jarvis's mother, Kathy Scott-Lykes. Kathy has been a fierce advocate for her son since the day of his death; and also advocates for justice for other families who have lost children as a result of police brutality. In partnership with several community organizations, including Justice for Georgia, Georgia Moms United and the Georgia Reform Coalition, Mrs. Lykes coordinated rallies at the end of each day's motorcade. At Friday's rally, held at the Fourth Street Baptist Church, keynote speakers included Jacquelyn Johnson, mother of Kendrick Johnson and Kimberly Handy- Jones, mother of Cordale Handy (killed by Police in Minnesota in 2017).
Kendrick Johnson was a 17 year-old boy whose body was found in the Lowndes High School gymnasium, rolled up in a mat, on January 11, 2013. His death was initially ruled accidental, and the case was closed in 2020. Despite what was reported by the law enforcement agencies involved, Kendrick Johnson's family has always believed that something foul was amiss. After independent investigations and autopsies ordered by the family, the case was re-opened in March of 2021. (https://www.the-sun.com/news/2488153/kendrick-johnson-case-what-happened-death/) His family, led by his parents, Kenneth and Jacquelyn, continues the fight for the truth to be revealed, and justice to be served. They are currently holding various screening events to promote the documentary, Finding Kendrick Johnson, produced by actress Jenifer Lewis. For more information on his case, visit the family's website: https://www.justiceforkendrickjohnson17.org/?ltclid=3c46f380-9d17-434c-9021-c56e13e1184d. To sign the petition demanding justice for Kendrick Johnson, please visit https://www.change.org/p/gbi-justice-for-kendrick-johnson.
Kimberly Handy-Jones traveled from Chicago to support the family of Jarvis Lykes, and others who were remembered during the Motorcade Weekend. She is the founder of the Cordale Q. Handy In Remembrance of Me Foundation, through which she provides headstones and encouragement to families whose loved ones are killed by police and community violence. It was the murder of her own son, Cordale Handy, by police in 2017 (https://www.startribune.com/st-paul-police-officers-cleared-in-fatal-march-shooting/464449053/) that inspired her to start the foundation and support other families dealing with the same circumstances. She is a strong voice in the fight against police brutality and is seen at events nationwide, advocating for justice. To learn more or support the Cordale Q. Handy In Remembrance of Me Foundation, go to: https://www.cordaleqhandyinremembranceofme.org/tribute-to-families.
So, what happened to Jarvis Lykes? The facts surrounding the case are somewhat unclear because the officer who killed Jarvis was not wearing a body cam, and the dash cam on his vehicle was inoperable. What is known, is that Jarvis Lykes was approaching a DUI checkpoint on Cusseta Road in Columbus, GA, on December 29, 2017, when he turned around to drive in the opposite direction. Trooper Michael Bradley Nolen was sitting nearby and followed Jarvis as he drove away suspecting him of evading the DUI checkpoint. Trooper Nolen signaled for Jarvis to pull over. Jarvis ignored the flashing lights and sirens and drove to a dead-end on Lumpkin Court, as Trooper Nolen gave chase. Upon arrival at the dead end, Jarvis exited his vehicle, as did Trooper Nolen, who had his service weapon drawn. A scuffle of sorts ensued and Jarvis was shot once in the shoulder. Despite CPR being administered, Jarvis Lykes died, as the bullet ricocheted inside his chest and punctured vital organs (www.justiceforjarvis.com).
Saturday's motorcade ended in the cul-de-sac on Lumpkin Court where Jarvis was killed by Trooper Nolen. It was an emotional day, as the family of Jarvis Lykes paid tribute to him. Civil Rights Activist, Porch'se "Queen" Miller, of the Georgia Reform Coalition, led the tribute, which she opened with a stirring prayer. Members of the community joined the tribute and stood in solidarity with the family, call on anyone living in the cul-de-sac who witnessed the events of December 29, 2017 to come forward with the details. Family members of others killed by police officers in Georgia were in attendance, including Dalphine Robinson, whose son, Jabril Robinson, who was killed by Clayton County Officers Charlie McDaniel and Dwayne Parkin in 2016. Also in attendance, were Ingrid and Andrew Smyrna, Sr., parents of Andrew Smyrna. Andrew Smyrna was killed by Trooper Brandon Byrd in 2020. Together, these families stand against the violence of police brutality and fight for justice for their loved ones. To learn more about Jarvis's story and how you can help his family, visit their website at http://www.justiceforjarvis.com. To learn about other names mentioned in this story, go to http://www.justiceforgeorgia.com.
By Keyanna Jones