Protesters weather Tropical Storm Cristobal, stage sit-in at Governor’s Mansion
Protestors hold waive signs in front of the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Florida on June 7, 2020. Photo by Jason Delgado.

Protesters presented city leaders with a list of demands.

Protesters in Tallahassee weathered Tropical Storm Cristobal early Sunday to stage a sit-in at the Governor’s Mansion and demand statewide policy changes to policing in Florida.

Prepared with raincoats, umbrellas, snacks and refreshments, the group of roughly 50 or so stood in the rain waiving signs and chanting at the officers guarding the entrance of the Governor’s Mansion. It is unclear if the Governor was home at the time of the demonstration.

“Today is for them to see that the community will not let up on them no matter what, said protest organizer Tazzy Janvier. “We will not let up. We will show up in numbers. “Rain or shine, people will demand to see what they want to happen in their communities.”

Sign placed on fence of Governor’s Mansion during a protest of police in Tallahassee, Florida on June 7, 2020. Photo by Jason Delgado.

Protests in Tallahassee have continued throughout the week after the death of Tony McDade, a local black man fatally shot by police on May 27.

McDade, 38, was fatally shot by a white police officer after fatally stabbing his next door neighbor, 21-year-old Malik Jackson.

What happened next, however, remains disputed.

In a press conference following the shooting, police said McDade was in possession of a handgun at the time of his death. But a witness to the incident disputed the department’s account and alleged that McDade was wrongfully shot and was addressed with racial slurs.

Current state law has allowed the Tallahassee Police Department to withhold the officer’s name, further frustrating some community members.

In response, members of Movement 850 — a Tallahassee group of students and community members demanding “justice and policy change” — have published a list of “demanded” policy changes.

The demands, which include short and long-term changes, were addressed to Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell, City Manager Reese Goad, Second Judicial Court State Attorney Jack Campbell and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

They include “short-term changes” such as a report card for each officer working within the department and “long-term changes” including the creating of a permanent diversity task force within the Tallahassee Police Department.

Janvier said the demands were published earlier this week but the group has yet to hear back from elected officials.

“We are just tired of waiting,” Janvier said. “We’ve been told no over and over and over again.”

Janvier added that the group will not stop protesting until their voices are heard and progress is made statewide.

“We are in the city of Tallahassee,” she said. “If we are organizing here, it is going to transcend all across the state and it is only a matter of time until that happens.”

The protests, which have remained generally peaceful in Tallahassee throughout the week, took a dangerous turn May 30 when a truck struck marching protesters near the state Capital Building.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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