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Jasiah Scott, 14, was killed on a go-kart ride. His mother is waiting for an apology.
Denise Scott said she wants to hear from the man who struck her son.
They always ask, and she always tells.
It’s because of her earrings. She has several pairs, and she wears them for nearly every shift at the busy Birmingham convenience store where she works.
The earrings all display different photos of Denise Scott’s “baby,” she explained Monday. She spoke over the soft sounds of the windchimes hanging from the rafters of her Midfield, Alabama, porch. She gestured to the pair in her ears.
Customers always ask about the boy on the earrings, Scott said, and she can’t wait to tell them all about him.
“I want everyone to know how special he was,” she said.
For Denise Scott, it’s a way of remembering. A way of keeping her son’s spirit alive.
On August 18, 2021, a local man struck and killed Denise’s son, Jasiah Scott, as he rode his go-kart about six blocks from the Scott home. No criminal charges were ever filed.
More than a year after Jasiah’s death, his story is getting renewed attention from the public. Videos about Jasiah posted on social media by his family members, including Denise, have gone viral. One video, which shows Denise Scott learning from other children in the neighborhood that her son has been in an accident, has been seen nearly 5 million times.
Monday afternoon, Denise Scott said she’s glad that people are getting to know more about her son Jasiah. She said that’s why she wears her earrings — she wants to talk about the son she loved so much — a son who died much too soon.
But she said that more than a year after Jasiah’s death, she’s still been left waiting. She no longer has faith in the criminal justice system, she said — a system that chose not to hold the driver that struck her son accountable.
But it’s not jail time that would lead to justice, anyway, Scott explained, the windchimes growing louder as the spring breeze picked up. She wants to hear from the man who struck Jasiah. She thinks it’s the least he could do.
Scott still calls August 18, 2021 “the day my world shattered.”
That Wednesday, Aug. 18, Jasiah came home happy.
“He came out of school with a big smile telling me that his substitute teacher said he was a blessing, and she was praying for him and she loved him,” Denise Scott said at the time. “He was so happy to tell me that.”
After a while, Jasiah told his mom he was going to look for a gas cap for his go-kart, which he had lost. She said that she thought she’d convinced him to ride his bike. She had not, and what happened next changed the Scott family’s lives forever. Jasiah took the go-kart. He was struck by a vehicle soon after, just six blocks away from his home.
A video, taken from a doorbell camera and later released by the Scott family, showed what happened next. In the footage, children from the Scotts’ Midfield neighborhood run to the door of Jasiah’s home and frantically inform Denise her child was in an accident.
Scott said that she was getting ready to take a shower when she heard the ring of the doorbell that would shatter her world.
“He’s bleeding,” one boy can be heard saying, clearly in distress.
“Where’s my son,” Denise Scott replied.
Without shoes and in a gown, Denise Scott fled to the scene of the accident.
“I was trying to run behind the ambulance,” she said. “But there were like six police officers to hold me back.”
Officers told Denise that Jasiah had a broken leg or hip. The reality was much worse.
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When she arrived at Children’s of Alabama hospital, staff pointed Denise to a conference room. She objected: “My baby’s not in there.” Then, she passed out. When she woke up, Jasiah was receiving CPR.
“But my baby was already gone,” she said.
Jasiah Scott did not have an easy life. Although his family described him as “one of the happiest kids,” he had suffered abuse in his childhood. Denise Scott said that her son had also been in a slump of depression since his grandmother passed away. Through his pain, though, there were glimmers of light that Denise and his brothers, Jacorey and Jacoby, got to witness.
“You know, even in his darkest times, he was still happy,” one of his brothers said. “That boy, I can say even on the day that he passed, he was completely happy. He was doing what he wanted to do and what he felt would make him happy. Just being a kid, to be honest.”
Jasiah also lacked consistent relationships in his life, his mother said– that’s one reason he loved his pit bulls so much, according to Denise.
“He knew his pets weren’t going anywhere,” she said.
Jasiah wanted to be an NBA player, a dream he had told his mother about in detail.
“He loved basketball,” she explained.
“Mom, you’re going to go hotel to hotel with me,” he would tell her. “And then I’ll get me a house. And then I’m going to buy you a sleep number bed, and you’re going to live with me. I’m going to take care of you.”
Jasiah’s absence has weighed not just on his family, but on the entire community.
“The whole neighborhood is lost without him,” his mother said not long after his death. “It’s completely changed.”
Sitting on Denise Scott’s porch Monday evening, it felt true. No children played outside. No basketball bounced in the driveway, though the goal still towered silently above the gray concrete.
It was here — on Denise’s front porch — where she’d learned the news that would change everything. It was here where Jasiah’s friends had run, frantic, to tell her something terrible had happened.
“Everybody wanted me to take the video down,” Denise Scott said. “But I wanted them to know: my world was shattered that day. I wanted them to see that my world got shattered.”
The night of the accident, Midfield police told Tread’s Lee Hedgepeth that the driver who struck the go-kart cooperated with law enforcement. Later, however, a Midfield police department official said there was no ongoing investigation into the case.
Denise Scott said she was told the case was presented to a grand jury in 2022. The grand jury, officials told her, chose not to indict the man.
But on Monday afternoon, Scott said she believes justice goes beyond incarcerating people, anyway.
But in the time since her son’s death, she said she hasn’t heard from the man who struck and killed Jasiah. Direct, personal accountability is something Denise Scott said is important to her, and it’s something she still hasn’t gotten.
“I just want him to admit what he did,” Scott said. “And I want him to apologize to me.”
Whether that apology comes or not, Denise Scott said she’ll work every day to keep her son’s memory alive. That includes wearing those earrings — an invitation for anyone and everyone to ask about Jasiah.
Often, Scott said, she’ll tell a customer about her son, and on their next visit, they would tell her they had read Jasiah’s story.
One day, a mother and son returned to the convenience store with a bouquet of flowers for Denise. She asked them what the flowers were for.
“These are from Jasiah,” they said.