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Town hall tonight in Jacksonville focusing on police shootings

Activists in Jacksonville are hosting a town hall meeting tonight at the Wells Fargo offices on North Main Street after weeks of protests against the shooting death of Vernell Bing.

The Kemetic Empire says it’s hosting the event “to present solutions, a platform for the community to express their views and concerns.”

Invited to appear are State Attorney Angela Corey, Sheriff Mike Williams, Public Defender Matt Shirk, and Jacksonville City Council member Reginald Gaffney, among others. No word yet if any of those officials are confirmed.

JSO continues to face criticism after Bing was shot by police on May 22 in Springfield after he rammed a stolen vehicle head-on into a braking patrol car, ending a high-speed chase.

For his part, Williams says he’s committed to more transparency with the public and wants to regain trust in the city’s African-American neighborhoods. His Sheriff’s Initiative, a study of police policies, is expected to issue a report later this month.

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In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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