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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mr. Blair AMOS, Deeply Loved and Missed, Forgotten by ECSO

Mrs. Lucy AMOS:  "They have not tried to help me from day one; from December 24, 2008, until today." (3/30/2015)

I had a conversation with Mrs. Lucy Amos, a lively, passionate woman who moved to Pensacola from New Orleans in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.  She is just the sweetest woman, but filled with deep loss and love for her son--lost to senseless gun violence late on December 24, 2008, within an hour of Christmas Day.  Upon hearing the news of the shooting from a neighbor, Mrs. Amos rushed to the hospital and watched for between two and three hours as her son slowly succumbed to his fatal wound.

Within three days of burying her twenty year-old son, Mr. Blair Amos's girlfriend suffered a miscarriage and Mrs. Amos lost a grandbaby.  One week later, Mrs. Amos traveled to New Orleans to attend the funeral of the extended family's two-year old.  The 2008 holiday season was filled grief and disbelief.  A newspaper report filed in January 2009, for which she was interviewed, was unread and filed along with at least a dozen other reports of "cold cases" apparently no longer pursued by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Blair Amos, was killed by gunshot wound while driving near the intersection of Medford and Cranston in the Montclair neighborhood.  In the prime of his life, Mrs. Amos described her son as a "sweet, gentle, loving boy," a good student in high school, and a "respectable boy."  He went to a "good local church" about as often as most Americans go to church--regularly but not every Sunday.  He played in the gym at the church, and while a "quiet boy," was a "leader among his peers."  He enjoyed fishing and family outings.

Mrs. Amos told me that the ECSO tried to characterize her son as a member of gang and his killing as drug related.  The impression I received is that the ECSO considers any loose group of young adults playing in the neighborhood as a "gang."  It is profitable to do so in the War on Drugs.

According to the January 2009 report in the Pensacola News Journal, Detective Tyree told the paper there was no description of the shooter, no gun found, and no fingerprints.  Given the complete lack of information provided Mrs. Amos, her impression is that the investigation consisted merely of sending out  postcards asking for information.  Nearly seven years later it is a "cold case."

Mrs. Amos herself is a deeply religious woman who told me that she is still so grief-stricken that she has "given up and given the problem to God."

How has Mrs. Amos been treated by the Sheriff's Office?

The only detective assigned to her case, Lee Tyree, has never called her and never visited her at home.  She has gone to the Sheriff's Office at least four times to meet with Detective Tyree.  The meetings have lasted around five minutes, ten minutes at the most before she has been asked to leave.

When Mrs. Amos has directly gone to the Sheriff Office to get any public records on her son's case, she has been turned away by a supervisor on the grounds that it was a "cold case" still under investigation.  What, are they waiting for the post cards to return?

Why has Mrs. Amos been treated this way?

Bad behavior by individuals lower in the chain of command is usually the result of bad behaviors and attitudes by higher ranking officers.  I spent twenty years on active duty and the reserves and that is certainly true of the military.  In this case, it is apparently the result of the behavior and attitude of Sheriff David Morgan.

The Sheriff has given the community the impression in public meetings that he believes that the people who fled Hurricane Katrina in fear of their lives have destroyed Pensacola.  He has given the Black community the impression that he does not care about good Black youths, male and female, being killed because it is simply Black-on-Black crime.

At public meetings Sheriff Morgan has had mothers who lost sons to gun violence escorted out of the meeting, including Mrs. Amos, because he "does not want another Jerry Springer Show."  At one meeting, the Sheriff reportedly told his deputies, "Get her out of here."  Sheriff Morgan's secretary will not allow Mrs. Amos to have a one-on-one meeting with the Sheriff.

Mrs. Amos describes herself as a "law-abiding citizen."  She plaintively told me in words that echoes conservative complaints about government, "I'm a taxpayer.  Where is my help?"  I could add, where is the public service and public respect Mrs. Amos deserves?

New Investigative Leads?

There may be some information useful to the Sheriff's Office in this case.  According to a confidential source close to Mrs. Amos, neighbors believe that the her son's killer is known certain white male.  Detective Tyree was told by a known certain woman that she had two sub-sources that knew the name of the alleged killer, but this source would not provide the detective the names of her two sub-sources.

Another piece of information Detective Tyree may or may not be aware of concerns a Black woman who was in the hospital while Mr. Blair Amos lay dying in his hospital bed.  This unknown woman reportedly overheard Mr. Blair's two companions who were in the car when he was shot from behind "contemplating" what they were going to tell the Sheriff's Department when questioned.  It is not known what they were "contemplating."  Hospital records could reveal her identity.

Mrs. Amos is heartbroken.  She recognizes that "some police are very caring."  But, what would increase trust between people like Mrs. Amos and the Sheriff's Office are more multi-cultural deputies who have more empathy for victims' families and far greater communications with the families.

This is just one case among dozens.  If you have any information related to this case, or any other case, contact the Sheriff's Office.  Every mother deserves an answer to a simple question: Why?  No mother deserves to be forgotten--another victim of a "cold case."


The purpose of this Pensacola blog is to provide a megaphone for street level voices in Pensacola and the surrounding Escambia County that have been ignored or silenced by the Escambia County Sheriffs Office (ECSO) for many years through deliberate neglect.  As I have traveled around Pensacola several themes have emerged from conversations with leading community activists and ordinary people in Pensacola, especially in the Black community.  One, the Escambia County Sheriffs Office, especially the two-term incumbent Sheriff David Morgan seeking re-election, is disconnected from the Black community.  Two, they feel he has no real, genuine interest in hearing their complaints or addressing the community's needs.  He either refuses to meet with community activists or mothers who have lost their precious sons to violence, or, when he does meet with them his discourse with them makes them feel "belittled."   Three, there is an almost total breakdown in community trust between the ECSO and the Black community.  Black witnesses to crimes do not have enough confidence and trust in the ECSO detectives to provide information.  I suspect that other communities that I will be exploring in greater depth, such as the homeless community, the LGBTQ community, and the migrant farm worker community may very well feel the same way.

This is not to say that every deputy sheriff and detective in the Escambia County Sheriffs Office is unprofessional, lacks empathy, and by words and deeds is perceived to be hostile or uncaring towards the taxpayers of Pensacola and Escambia County.  Some deputies and detectives do receive high praise from members of the community.  But, these overall perceptions are widespread in the Black community and their righteous anger at being abused and neglected is directed foremost at Sheriff David Morgan.  As the head law enforcement officer in the county, he is an elected official and he should be the one closest to the people.  Members of the Black community look to him to set the standards of professionalism and decorum among his deputy sheriffs and detectives.  They look to him personally to build real bridges of trust and confidence.  Conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, expect that their local sheriff will take his oath of office seriously and protect constitutional and civil rights.  That as their elected law enforcement representative he will not only spend their tax dollars wisely, but having paid their tax dollars, they expect to receive to services they paid for.

This blog is made possible with the silent assistance of activists and ordinary people who open their hearts and lend us their voices, and my closest collaborators who choose to remain anonymous for their own protection against reprisals.  This blog is not about me.  It is about the community; the community that is justifiably angry; it is about the community that is coming together every day to build solidarity for social change and social justice.  You can ignore me.  But you ignore these community voices at your own peril.  Many have told me that Pensacola is another Ferguson waiting to happen.

Contact me if you have a story, a street report, I should hear and follow-up on.  Send an email to or give me a Facebook message.