Jacksonville FL- On January 29, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee alongside 80 energized community members rallied to demand accountability and justice. Cities around the nation are organizing in response to not only the release of horrific bodycam footage capturing the slaying of Tyre Nichols, but local struggles as well.
Across the country police brutality persists, but the masses continue to hit the streets to stand up against the violence. The bodycam footage depicting the brutal killing of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop raises important concerns regarding police accountability and institutional racism. Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were all fired and later arrested on murder and other charges.
However, police violence continues to escalate the further militarization of police departments as a pushback to demands of accountability. In Atlanta “Cop City,” a nickname given to a proposed law enforcement training center, will become a national hub for police to continue to learn repressive tactics.
Jacksonville has already endured two deaths this year related to officer-involved shootings. The Jacksonville Community Action Committee and other community organizations such as the UNF Students for a Democratic Society, Northside Coalition, and Black Power Rising, spoke out on Sunday, calling for accountability, justice and public safety.
“We should be able to investigate when one of our community members is killed,” Michael Sampson explains the Public Safety Oversight Committee, a planned ballot initiative to put power back in the peoples’ hands and serve as a launch point towards community control. There are already 18 cities in Florida with some form of civilian review.
Shirley McDaniels, mother of Vernell “Lil Red” Bing Jr. who was killed by a JSO officer, said “We need this in our community. At some point in time we gotta gain justice,” in regards to forming the committee.
Chants of “Enough is enough” echoed through the crowd.
“We have to demand better from our city. We should not have to fear the people who protect and serve us,” said Brian Jefferson II, member of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee.
Christina Kittle stated, “This is just the first step.” The Public Safety Oversight Committee is not the complete solution, but it is the first step to putting power back in the hands of the people.
You can stay up-to-date on local actions in Jacksonville by following @Jaxtakesaction on social media or visiting jaxtakesaction.org.