On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson and Rep. Tracie Davis came together to propose radical solutions to the “blood and tears” that fill “Jacksonville streets” after yet another weekend with multiple shootings.
Four people were killed this weekend, and 21 total murders have happened this year.
Gibson and Davis held their media event in a park where four people were shot Thursday evening.
Gibson wants funds released immediately for afterschool programming, saying “the problem is here today” and that her “district is on fire.”
Gibson also suggested the Highway Patrol and Department of Justice help JSO, as well as a citywide curfew, “not just for minors, but period.”
Curfews have not proven popular when posed to the Jacksonville City Council.
“We are in a state of urgency emergency today,” Gibson said, adding that Sheriff Mike Williams should ask for assistance “right now.”
Williams has said that crime is on the rise and that an “unlimited overtime” policy is in play for the foreseeable future.
Gibson told WJXT’s Jim Piggott that she was not opposed to calling out the National Guard either, but said she didn’t want “armed guards on every corner.”
“Bringing in the Guard is an option,” Gibson said.
“The Mayor’s already elected. He needs to step up and speak up,” Gibson said, adding that Curry “hasn’t even sat down with the Delegation about city priorities.”
Davis asked for more surveillance cameras and technologies like ShotSpotter. In addition to surveillance, she urged that police builds “trust” with “the community.”
Davis noted that a letter will be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, formalizing this request for help.
Gibson asserted that the event was not political; however, active candidates for office were on hand, including Mayoral hopeful Anna Brosche.
Brosche, elected in 2015 as a Republican City Councilwoman, was flanked by Democrats at the event, including Sheriff candidate Tony Cummings.
During the 2015 Jacksonville mayoral campaign, incumbent Alvin Brown proposed enlisting the help of President Barack Obama‘s Justice Department.
It didn’t play well during the campaign.
Curry campaign spokesperson Brian Hughes commented, casting aspersions on the recent evolution of Brown’s messaging on the crime issue.
“For over two years Brown has denied a crime problem while citing claims of lower rates due to non-violent statistics. When violence spirals out of control and blood is running in the streets every single day, he suddenly wakes up 20 days before an election to say he gets it,” Hughes said.
“Brown blames others and asks for others to solve problems for him. This time by asking feds to intervene where he failed as it relates to gangs,” Hughes added.
Now, with crime raising its head during an election run-up, Democrats are proposing that Curry make the same call for help … and concessions that such help is needed.
Hughes, now Curry’s chief of staff, called the press event a political ploy.
“The mayor works with the Sheriff, local and state partners all the time. He has made and will continue to keep public safety the city’s top priority. But these political games for cameras less than 30 days until the conclusion of an election are demeaning to crime victims, their families and the law enforcement community,” Hughes said Monday afternoon.