The organizer of a rally calling for justice in the death of a Cedartown man said she plans on continuing her efforts until she feels her demands are satisfied.
Beverly Hamilton, of Rockmart, took to Facebook to plan the peaceful rally, which took place Saturday in front of Polk County Courthouse No. 1. The cause behind the rally stems from the circumstances surrounding the death of Eric Keais last September.
The 38-year-old was hit by a vehicle driven by Ralph “Ryan” Dover III while riding his bicycle on North Main Street across from the Dollar General Market in Cedartown around 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 11.
According to a report from Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier, Dover called attorney and state Rep. Trey Kelley and not 911. After Kelley arrived and looked over Dover’s vehicle, he then called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome to send an officer out to see what Dover had hit.
It was more than an hour before Keais was discovered by a Cedartown police officer and rushed to the hospital, where he died while medical personnel fought to save his life.
The rally came together within a week and local law enforcement was on hand. Hamilton said she intends to continue holding rallies until she feels justice is served.
So far Dover has not been officially charged with any crime and has not been arrested in relation to the incident. Jack Browning, district attorney for the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit which includes Polk County, had intended to bring the case to the grand jury in March but the start of the COVID-19 pandemic halted all judicial proceedings.
A recent extension of the statewide judicial emergency order by Chief Justice Harold Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court will keep the courts shuttered until at least July 13 with scheduling of cases and grand juries to follow reopening.
Hamilton said while she did not know Keais, she felt compelled to speak out on his behalf and call for justice to be served.
“tWe demand justice and we demand those involved to step down from their position,” Hamilton said while holding signs among a group of about 10 people Saturday afternoon.
“We are a small crowd now but we will not be silent,” Hamilton said. “We won’t give up. We won’t walk away from it until justice is served.”
Cedartown resident Lisa Stewart spoke during the early moments of the two-hour rally, calling for those who have spoken out in frustration over the case on Facebook and other social media sites to not be scared and step out in public to let their voices be heard.