2 dozen outside inauguration protest sheriff's proposed budget
Groups call Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 'overweight,' avoids problems
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several organizations gathered Monday outside the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts to criticizes Sheriff Mike Williams' proposed budget as Williams and Mayor Lenny Curry were to be sworn in for second, four-year terms in office.
More than two dozen people, including several from the Northside Coalition, demonstrated, saying the sheriff’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year does not get to the root of the problem when it comes to tackling crime in Jacksonville.
In a news release announcing the protest, the organizations said the sheriff’s budget is “excessive, obscene and anti-poor.”
Many of the demonstrators chanted and held up signs for about 90 minutes prior to the inauguration ceremony. Some of the signs read, "Say no to JSO" or called the sheriff's budget "overweight."
The proposed Jacksonville Sheriff's Office budget is $445 million -- a $35 million increase over the current year.
Several demonstrators said the budget increase does not tackle the problem, that more is needed for crime prevention, community redevelopment and economic revitalization in order to stop the violence.
“We’ve got to do more in terms of prevention and intervention," said Northside Coalition founder Ben Frazier. "We’ve got to do more in terms of job training and job creation. Until we do that, we’re just whistling Dixie.”
In a press release, the organizations said the sheriff’s budget is “excessive, obscene and anti-poor.”
"We want to be in their faces and let them know that too many years have gone by, too many JSO budgets have gone by every year, and there’s still no accountability and the crime rate keeps going up," said Michael Sampson, of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee.
Frazier said one aspect of the budget increase they do support is the funding for more body cameras.
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