JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In response to the recent demonstrations around the city following the death of George Floyd, the Jacksonville Branch NAACP issued a letter to Sheriff Mike Williams, demanding changes from the Sheriff’s Office.
The letter demanded changes that include the release of body camera footage within 48 hours of a police shooting, a review of JSO’s use of force policy and complete transparency throughout an internal affairs process.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, who spent more than two decades as an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said that some of the NAACP’s demands to the JSO are legislative issues, City Council issues, or issues that would be handled by the State Attorney’s office.
Releasing body camera footage within 48 hours of an officer-involved shooting and complete transparency through the Sheriff’s Office’s internal affairs process, Jefferson believes, are not realistic demands. Jefferson said those actions could interfere with an ongoing investigation.
“The demand is not realistic because it has to be done on a case by case basis,” Jefferson said.
The former police officer said the NAACP’s demands that he considers to be reasonable include:
- Implementing a citizens review board with subpoena power
- Immediate investigations of known corrupt officers who have a history of brutality against blacks
- A review of the department’s use of force policy
Jefferson said “choke holds” or “knee holds," like what Officer Derek Chauvin used on Floyd in Minneapolis, are already banned by JSO or not a part of police training. Jefferson said the real change rests in the hands of police.
“Some of the demands from the NAACP are reasonable and can be worked out by sitting down and having a dialogue and discussion, and community leaders, along with the sheriff, state attorney and the mayor and City Council -- they can implement some of those things,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said it’s important that Williams explains to local leaders their specific request is being denied, because if local leaders walk away not understanding why, it may come across as if they are being ignored.