League of Women Voters Florida calls out ‘militant-like responses’ to nationwide protests
Police hold off protesters during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Police, protesters in Brooklyn
The group says it will push for accountability in the voting booth this year.

The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVFL) issued a lengthy statement Tuesday criticizing the heavy-handed police response to recent protests across the nation.

The group also says it will keep up voter registration efforts in an attempt to push back against the “status quo.”

Some state and local officials throughout the country have called in police and national guard members in response to instances of violent protests and looting. A small portion of rioters have sought to ratchet up the protests over George Floyd‘s death.

Police, however, have also targeted various peaceful protesters and journalists in multiple instances of excessive force.

“When a group of people have time and time again been made to feel less than, protest is inevitable,” the LWVFL statement read.

“The right to join with fellow citizens in protest and peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. Peaceful protest should not be met with militant-like responses like we’ve seen around our nation.”

Some of those controversial instances of police force occurred here in Florida. Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Steven Pohorence was suspended after shoving a woman while she knelt on the ground. A Sarasota Police officer was placed on leave after putting his knee on a protester while taking him into custody.

Floyd died after Minneapolis police used a similar maneuver, setting off the recent spate of protests.

In Jacksonville, a protest organizer is blaming police for escalating violence there, saying police “came prepared to beat people up.”

Tuesday’s statement, issued by the LWVFL Board of Directors, argued that “voting is one of the most powerful forms of protest.” As a result, the group reiterated its commitment to increase voter registration prior to elections this August and November.

“While voting might not be a fix-all solution, voting is an effective way to jump-start meaningful change,” the statement continued.

“The tragic loss of Black lives to police-involved violence has occurred over too many decades, but we can change that trajectory now. The last several years of this repetitive violence has demonstrated the need for dramatic change. The status quo of police brutality cannot be tolerated any longer.”

The nationwide protests have been a recent focal point in the 2020 presidential campaign. The lingering impact of the novel coronavirus has also caused concern about the safety of widespread in-person voting later this year.

“It is more critical than ever that we, the League of Women Voters of Florida, stand ready to register voters, help voters request their vote-by-mail ballots and provide unbiased election and candidate information,” the statement concluded.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • gary

    June 2, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich! Damn!

Comments are closed.


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