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Jacksonville protest challenging police set for Saturday

Demonstration primarily is in response to George Floyd death, but will address local issues as well.

In the wake of unrest and sometimes-violent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week, a Northeast Florida civil rights group will demand justice in Jacksonville Saturday.

The Jacksonville Community Action Committee on their Facebook page is organizing a “justice caravan” outside the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office headquarters and Duval County Jail downtown on Bay Street. The event is scheduled for 3-4:30 p.m.

While Floyd’s death and video recorded of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck prompted the demonstration, protesters will also address other issues.

The group wants “the release of [police officer] bodycam footage in all cases of JSO shootings” and “the end of excessive force by JSO and community control of the police.”

The organization is also calling for the release of inmates at the jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the inmate population there.

This will be the second protest demanding inmate releases from the Duval County Jail during the coronavirus outbreak in as many months. In April, demonstrators formed a caravan in vehicles and paraded in front of the jail on Bay Street demanding inmates accused of nonviolent crimes be released because the virus spreads like wildfire in detention facilities.

Organizers are also demanding more information on the police shooting death of Jamee Johnson who was killed by a JSO officer Dec. 14 during a traffic stop.

The police body camera images of the shooting have not been released. JSO officials claim Johnson was resisting arrest. The 22-year-old was a Florida A&M University student.

JSO officials maintain patrol car dashboard video is not available and the bodycam became dislodged during the incident.

Several other Jacksonville police-involved shootings are also under scrutiny.

While Florida generally was relatively quiet in most cities Friday night into Saturday morning, protests raged across America. There were clashes between demonstrators and police in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and several other cities.

Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder in Minneapolis Friday, which touched off many of the demonstrations demanding justice in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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