Shaq, Henry Co. Sheriff lead annual ‘Ride for Unity’ through Georgia Saturday

Henry County Sheriff hopes the event ‘bridges the gap’ between law enforcement and the community
Photo of Shaq and Henry Co. Sheriff Reginald B. Scandrett
Photo of Shaq and Henry Co. Sheriff Reginald B. Scandrett(CBS46 News)
Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 2:26 PM EDT
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LOCUST Grove, Ga. (CBS46) - The second annual Ride 4 Unity presented by NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal and Henry County Sheriff Reginald B. Scandrett was held to help ‘bridge the gap’ between law enforcement and the community Saturday.

The ride out featured about 350 bikes that started in Locust Grove around 10 a.m. and ended with a special community event at Village Park in Ellenwood in the afternoon.

Ride 4 Unity event photos
Ride 4 Unity event photos(CBS46 News)

Officials say more than 600 attended the event, including dozens of police cruisers from several metro Atlanta counties. Attendees enjoyed food trucks, the park and water park nearby, vendors, music featuring singer Slim from legendary Atlanta group 112.

Scandrett hopes this is one of many events that will help to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

“We’re just out here having a good time. We just wanted to bring people together and give back to the people,” said Shaq. “The world was drifting apart, and here in Henry County, you put 1,000 people in a room, they always have one thing in common having fun.”

Scandrett also added the importance of everyone coming together as a community in wake of a string of recent gun violence that has plagued metro Atlanta in recent weeks.

“We need to stop the violence. Shooting and killing” said Scandrett. “Those things have to stop. If there is a situation where we need to get together to have a conversation, let’s do that. But, taking the life of another has to stop. It’s going to take this community and abroad to take a stance and make sure that those things don’t happen anymore.”

“We recognize there’s a division between the community and law enforcement so the event was just our way of bringing everyone together and ride for the community,” said Sytonnia Moore, Henry County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. “His presence is huge. He made a commitment to our community relations department and he said he would be here for the community, and he is. The fans really respond well to him. To have someone with that stature and that magnitude and that type of celebrity lets everyone know he meant what he said about being here to support the community.”

Helping to bring people together for peaceful events and to help the community at large heal is the importance of this event.

“That is one of our top priorities. So, to see this happen today and as peacefully as it can be, hopefully, it can stand as an example for other counties and surrounding areas,” said Moore.

Scandrett also asked the crowd to join in a moment of silence for fallen Henry County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Sean M. Free.

“I want to take some time out for an important member of our community. Let’s have a moment of silence for the Free family,” said Sheriff Scandrett. “I want to take a moment for Sgt. Free and his father, Mr. Free.”