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Connell Crooms doubles down on ‘racist bully’ claim against Lenny Curry

Jacksonville mayoral candidate Connell Crooms, running without party affiliation, got some coverage this week for calling incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry a “racist bully.”

“It seems for the sake of professional decorum, the people of color on city council are too afraid to say what black people in Jacksonville have long been saying: Lenny Curry is a racist bully,” Crooms asserted on Facebook last weekend, adding that the first-term Republican incumbent has “bullied the people of color on city council to pass what he wants often at the expense of black citizens and working people.”

Thursday, on First Coast Connect, a morning call-in show on WJCT, Crooms cited Curry’s “long record of treating people of color on City Council with strong-arm tactics.”

These tactics, Crooms said, aren’t used on white Council members, but are reserved for Garrett Dennis and Anna Brosche.

Crooms also charged Curry with “upholding the racist policies of President Donald Trump.” 

Crooms, when asked why he was running by host Melissa Ross, noted that America is headed toward “fascism.”

He is driven to run by many issues, including police accountability, stronger unions, and boosting the minimum wage.

“The campaign has started off on a hot streak, and continues on a hot streak,” Crooms said, saying he was the “most visible candidate in the race” and believes he can take a majority against the well-funded mayor in the first election despite a crowded field.

“I would hate to have to run this race in a runoff again,” Crooms said.

Crooms became known to Jacksonville residents in the wake of a protest that went awry in Hemming Park last April.

Crooms, who is deaf (and an activist for the deaf), ended up being beaten into unconsciousness by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officers at that protest as a result of Snow’s actions. He was one of five protesters arrested; charges were dropped in June, with community sentiment on the side of Crooms and the rest of the Jax 5 protest contingent.

Crooms joins a growing field of candidates against Curry, who has banked nearly $2 million for his campaign.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at

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