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Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams confronted about crime during walk

Sheriff walked Eastside talking with residents about criminal activity

Frustration by a resident of Jacksonville's Eastside spilled over onto Sheriff Mike Williams during one of his crime prevention neighborhood walks on Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The walk began around 10 a.m. in a neighborhood where several crimes have happened. Williams said the reason for the walks is to talk with the people who live there and determine how the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office can help.

"There’s no better way to really figure out and get a pulse of the neighborhood than to come out walking, knocking on the door, ask somebody, 'Hey, how’s the neighborhood? How can we help?'" Williams said.

During the walk, the group of officers and city leaders passed by one outraged resident who made his feelings known.

"I know what you guys are going to do, because you ain’t done nothing. Now, you want to come out here and make a showing like you’re going to stop all the crime. A guy got shot down in the road over there across the street. He (was)  begging for his life. He wanted to live. Don't wait till someone gets hurt and needs the help. How are you going to help somebody when they can’t feel what you doing?" the man asked.

Williams responded, "Call us if you need us."

His response didn't satisfy the man, who said he had seen too much violence in the area.

"I’ve been here for 12 years. (I'm) 75 years old. I don’t walk the streets. I tell them boys every day in the street to stop it (the crime)," he said. 

The man wouldn't release his name but blamed the police and politicians for the ongoing crime in the area.

"A lot of them walking with you are the same ones that are causing this," he said.

Williams reacted to the confrontation with the man.

"He’s clearly frustrated, (it's obvious) by some of the things he's saying, and we get that. There’s a level of frustration we have to (address), and there’s a lot of challenges in a neighborhood like this," Williams said.

See the exchange between the resident and sheriff in the following video tweet.  

 

That exchange wasn't mentioned in the tweet put out by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Saturday's walk, as you can see below.

 

One person who saw the video exchange on Twitter reacted by tweeting: "This is so painful to watch. Our communities are hurting."  

The video has been shared thousands of times. 

Williams’ campaign shared crime stats from last year-- focusing in the area where the sheriff’s walk took place this weekend.

While his opponent told us his plans to reduce violent crimes across the city.

"The sheriff's walk was an absolute disaster," said Tony Cummings. 

Williams' opponent is reacting to the way he handled the interaction.

We asked Cummings how he would have responded.

"I don’t imagine I would find myself in that situation because I plan from day one to be in the community, and the people will see," said Cummings. 

Cummings says as sheriff, he would make sure officers are connecting with people in the community.

"No longer will my deputies ride around in their patrol cars, they are going to be out in the community, building those tough relationships and letting folks know, had safe, you can come out of your house is now, it’s safe to be out on the streets and be a community again," said Cummings. 

We asked Williams for his reaction to his opponent’s comments—but he chose not to respond.

Williams' campaign headquarters told News4Jax last year’s crime numbers are down across the board in Zone 1, which includes the Eastside, with overall violent crime down 8 percent. 

 


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