Sherell L. Lewis Jr was picking up litter on the side of a Louisiana road when he was struck by a car. Lewis, who has been described as a man who “would have helped anybody that needed help, no matter what” and an important figure in the local community who was out picking up litter as a good Samaritan, died from his injuries on the way to hospital.
His death has since sparked a backlash from the local community after it emerged that 18-year-old Matthew M Martin bragged about hitting Lewis on Snapchat mere minutes after he had struck him with his vehicle. Screenshots of the exchange, which can be seen below, read as follows:
“Y’all i just hit a whole guy on the highway.” When asked in a follow-up by his friend who it was that he had hit Matthew replied, “Some N*gger”
“How did the chevy take it,” Matthew’s friend then asked.
“F–ked it up pretty good lol,” he answered.
“It’ll buff out,” the friend responded. “The guy die on impact or what?” he quickly added.
“Yes sir,” replied Martin, followed by a laughing emoji before adding, “No he died otw to the hospital.”
The local Sheriff has since condemned Matthew’s behaviour and released a statement reading:
Good Samaritan Sherell Lewis, a 31-year-old black man, stopped his car to remove debris on a Louisiana roadway. That's when 18-year-old Matthew Martin ran him over in a pickup truck and bragged on Snapchat that he had just killed "some nigger." https://t.co/PrjRG3PEyY pic.twitter.com/ICQKbBkJK4— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 31, 2018
“I am appalled at the content of the social media messages that were posted after the incident. This post is unacceptable and has no place in our society. The inflammatory words that were used were morally wrong. I have the utmost confidence in the Louisiana State Police and their ability to thoroughly investigate this incident.”
Meanwhile the NAACP and local law enforcement have come out to decry the snapchat posts and the killing in general, with one officer highlighting that Lewis had died while performing a good deed:
“What it appears at this point is that this man was trying to do a good deed. There was debris in the roadway and he didn’t want any other motorists to strike it. So he gets out of the vehicle to remove the debris, and he is struck while this is happening.”
As it stands, Matthew M Martin has ultimately convicted himself with his petulant, disrespectful, and grossly callous behaviour. But we imagine that there is little to console the family of Lewis and the community who has lost an upstanding member who worked hard to help those around him.