Protests renew calls for justice for Northeast Florida families

Demonstrations in the past week have not only been about cases seen nationally but also what’s happened across Northeast Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members of victims who have been part of the calls for justice in some of the marches and demonstrations happening across North Florida are speaking out again.

The Jacksonville Community Action Committee has a few demands for state leaders, all with those families in mind.

Some of the family members told News4Jax it’s been a long fight to try and get justice for their loved ones.

Demonstrations in the past week have not only been about cases seen nationally but also what’s happened across Northeast Florida.

“We’re just trying to figure out how a traffic stop escalates into a shootout, basically an execution,” said Harvey Johnson.

Johnson is the father of Jamee Johnson, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Jacksonville in December.

Bridget Johnson, stepmother of Jamee Johnson, holds a photo of the 22-year-old while in Tallahassee on Thursday.

News4Jax also spoke with the father of Dominic Broadus II, who was shot and killed in Baker County in 2018.

“There are a lot of gaps in the investigation that they should have after two years closed,” said Dominic Broadus.

Both of them say they are inspired by the protests and are glad to see their loved ones' cases aren’t going unnoticed.

The JCAC is calling for the release of body camera footage and more prosecutions.

Both relevant to Broadus’s and Johnson’s cases.

“Most of the time like in the case of Mr. Floyd or Aubrey the only time we actually see anything is when somebody else films something and it gets leaked. But as far as getting something from the officer’s body cams it’s almost none,” Harvey Johnson said.

The State Attorney’s Office sent News4Jax a statement about tomorrow’s protest:

“Since 2017, the State Attorney’s Office has worked to rebuild community trust and improve public safety – neither of which can be achieved without a commitment to fairness and equality.

Guided by a mission that directs us to pursue justice, our office has implemented initiatives that build transparency, increase accountability, and promote human rights. However, we recognize that none of these initiatives can be effective if we do not commit to working collaboratively with agencies, citizens, and communities to conduct comprehensive investigations, reveal truths, and identify reforms and solutions that improve lives and protect the rights of citizens.

As it relates to officer-involved shootings, the State Attorney’s Office has a distinct and independent role in these investigations. These investigations take time to complete. When an investigation is complete, we make our findings (and all relevant records, including body-worn camera footage) immediately available so that the public has a clear understanding of the facts and evidence on which our decisions are based.

Body-worn camera videos are evidence in criminal investigations – these videos are often integral in our role to evaluate whether deadly force was justified, or not. As a result of current events, we are reviewing our current practices.

Protest-related arrests from last weekend are currently being reviewed.

We believe in fairness, impartiality, and equal protection under the law. Our goals and commitment to our community remain the same: to pursue justice always.”

Broadus says while he is proud to see protests in the area, he says the public needs to continue pushing the issue.

“Now is the time that we need a legal form not only in our policing but in our judicial system and in the penal system in America,” said Dominic Broadus. “We get justice in these cases like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, [Breonna Taylor] and my son.”

Saturday’s protest starts in front of the Duval County Courthouse in downtown Jacksonville at 2 p.m. and will move to the State Attorney’s Office.

About the Author:

Born and raised in St. Petersburg. Proud grad of Lakewood High School and North Carolina A&T State University (Aggie Pride!).