JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group of demonstrators gathered Saturday afternoon in Downtown Jacksonville for a “Rally for Justice."
According to the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, the march from the Duval County Courthouse to State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s Office is being done to press demands, including that Nelson drop charges against some of last weekend’s protesters.
“She has the power to release the body cam footage, she has the power to drop the charges against the peaceful protesters who were brutalized and arrested last week, and she has the power to indict killer cops,” an organizer said.
Throughout the afternoon, protesters were vocal, but the demonstration was peaceful. Thousands came downtown to join the protest.
They started in front of the courthouse, hearing stories of men and women who they say the justice system has failed.
Amid the demonstration was a group of volunteers in yellow vests. Some were certified peacekeepers formally trained in deescalation tactics and crisis intervention, others were medics.
Many of the volunteers were marshals, whose role is to act as an information source for planners and demonstrators. The job of a marshal is to keep things moving and communicate any issues between other volunteers and lead marshals.
Others were legal representatives, observing the crowds and offering free legal advice regard the rights of protesters and demonstrators.
“As we all know, our first amendment right includes the right to protest, but it’s also good to have a lawyer present in case something not explicitly said needs to be explicitly said," said Neal Jefferson, who was a volunteer, but not a legal representative.
The Jacksonville Community Action Committee said it had 100 legal observers at the march.