Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Advocacy

Regret is defined as a feeling of sorrow or remorse for an act. Regret is hollow if it doesn’t carry any action with it. Mathew's family and friends demand more than Sheriff Al St. Lawrence’s deep regret, we demand his action.

We know the Sheriff contacted Georgia Bureau of Investigation, that was mandatory.The concern we have is that it was thirteen weeks ago. We know from recent events in Baltimore that an investigation, when intended to occur with velocity, can in fact occur with velocity. The GBI will be held to task for why it took them 120 days to investigate a death caused in one location by a group of known individuals with a known result. His family, his friends and all citizens of Savannah care less about "possible policy violations that may have occurred" than they do about what happened to Mathew, and why.

While we appreciate the Sheriff's suggestion that he has fully cooperated with GBI, he has failed to act with human decency and integrity by denying his family any sense of closure or the respect we deserve as we continue to mourn Mathew's death, still in ignorance of how it happened.

If, as he stated, the Sheriff has made changes requiring better safeguards for those who suffer from mental health illness and has further modified his security cross-checks for the failing that resulted in Mathew's death, why will he not disclose those changes? Are they not public? Only in this way might he begin the process necessary to re-instill any sense of trust in a facility that is housing, injuring or killing many of Savannah’s citizens. The day of hiding behind the opaque curtain of "ongoing investigation" must come to an end. If law enforcement desires to regain the trust of the citizens they are meant to protect, then transparency must prevail, and shrouds of secrecy and darkness perpetrated by undisclosed investigations must cease.

We have filed a public records request to review the policy changes referenced in the Sheriff's press release»