Rayquan Borum, the man accused of fatally shooting Justin Carr during protests after the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott last year, has a new attorney. Local activists, who have maintained that Borum is innocent are raising money to pay for his defense.
Borum, who is in a Mecklenburg County jail awaiting a Dec. 3 trial, is now being represented by Charlotte attorneys Mark Simmons and Darlene Kannady.
Members of Charlotte Uprising, an activist group that formed after the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott, are behind the change in attorneys. Organizer Ash Williams says Simmons represented others they knew who were arrested during last year’s protests. They put him in touch with Borum.
“We were concerned about his previous lawyer’s ability to do a good job for him and represent him well and his interests and wanted to make sure Rayquan had a good defense,” Williams said.
According to Williams, they have raised about $35,000 for Borum’s defense.
“We have to raise another $50,000 in the next eight months. Right now we’re tapping into bail funds across the country,” Williams said. “The Durham Solidarity Center has given us a large sum of money, not enough for his entire defense but we’re also taking donations from community members. All of that money will go to his attorney from us.”
Borum’s new attorney says he cannot discuss the case. That’s a different philosophy from his previous court-appointed attorney, Terry Sherrill. He had made several statements in court and to reporters about his client. For example, he said Borum had a gun and fired it during the Scott protest when Carr was fatally shot. He told WFAE that he felt sorry for the Carr family due to Borum’s actions, but said he felt the shooting was an accident. He later backtracked saying because Borum fired his gun does not mean he was the one who killed Carr.
Borum rejected Sherrill’s advice to plea to a lesser charge of second-degree murder in return for a sentence of 16 years. Charlotte Uprising and some others have pushed the theory that a police officer shot Carr. CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney has said no officer was involved and that video will back that up