JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 200 activists and supporters gathered Saturday afternoon in the large grass field near the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office headquarters to protest racial injustice and demand police reform.
Organizers said their demands cover concerns about law enforcement and the criminal justice system as well as racial and economic issues.
The protest was a drive-in rally to allow for social distancing, and hundreds of protesters, most wearing masks, gathered to voice their concerns.
The Call for Justice protest was spearheaded by the Jacksonville Community Action Committee and the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and was supported by many other grassroots community advocacy organizations, the organizers said.
“The recurring racial attacks by police officers prove there’s a pressing need for police reforms,” JCAC spokesman Michael Sampson said. “We think it’s time for city officials to take a serious look at the People’s Budget which we have proposed.”
Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition said the protest was designed to underscore major demands that 24 grassroots organizations are negotiating with top city officials, including pushing for a massive reallocation and reinvestment of funds from the present budget proposed for JSO.
“We are especially concerned about socio-economic issues affecting the Black community as they relate to the current budget now before the City Council,” Frazier said.
Sheriff Mike Williams asked for a $6.1 million increase in his department’s budget in his proposal to the City Council in June.