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Thousands march for third straight weekend in Jacksonville, demand community control of the police

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Jacksonville, FL – For the third Saturday in a row, June 13, thousands flooded the streets in downtown Jacksonville to demand police accountability and community control of the police, uniting with the National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression’s call for a day of action.

After a historic turnout of 10,000 people earlier this month, and feeling the pressure from the mass demonstrations, Mayor Lenny Curry mandated the removal of Confederate statues across the city and State Attorney Melissa Nelson dropped the charges for the majority of protesters arrested. Also, the state attorney issued a memo saying they’d release the body cam footage sooner with a definite timeline. However, that rhetoric didn’t fool the marchers.

Thousands showed up and filled the streets with chants like “Indict! Convict! Send these killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

People marched in the heat and demanded that the government release the body cam footage of those murdered by officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and to implement a Jacksonville Police Accountability Council (JPAC).

“They tried to say they’d release the body cam footage and took down racist symbols of white supremacy to try and appease our movement, but we won’t let them,” said Hakeem Balogun, organizer with the Jacksonville Community Action Committee and an emcee of the rally. “They still have yet to meet the demands of our movement and we aren’t finished.”

Around 4000 people gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse and listened as speakers clarified demands once again for local elected officials. Representatives from Students for aDemocratic Society at the University of North Florida (SDS), Northside Progressive Coalition, Take Em’ Down Jax and Jacksonville Community Action Committee spoke and echoed the demands for the release of body cam footage and police accountability. Families of the victims of JSO murders were present as well. The mother of Reginald Boston, who was shot and killed by JSO officers in January, spoke and pleaded between sobs for information surrounding the murder of her child.

Organizers led the crowd back to the courthouse after the march, where Reverend Ron Rawls from Saint Augustine, Florida left everyone with a powerful and energizing message, finishing the rally for the day by reminding the crowd that we will win, “by any means necessary.” The demands were from the protest organizers were clear:

1. Drop the remaining charges against protesters from the May 30 National Day of Action

2. JSO and the state attorney release all unedited body camera footage for the community in all cases of police murder and police brutality.

3. The end of all excessive force by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office . Community control of the police through a civilian police accountability council, as well as the slashing of JSO’s budget and that funding redirected back into the community.

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