Rally outside Duval County Courthouse calls for police accountability

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee held a rally Wednesday night outside the Duval County Courthouse.

Several dozen people attended the rally, which called for greater police accountability. The group said it’s calling for justice in four recent police-involved shootings that took place in the Jacksonville area.

During the rally, activists brought up the police shooting death of Jamee Johnson during a 2019 traffic stop, which was ruled justified by the State Attorney’s Office.

Also discussed was the police shooting death of 17-year-old Kwame Jones following a traffic crash in Moncrief, which was also ruled justified.

The group also spoke about 18-year-old Devon Gregory, who died during a traffic stop. The medical examiner determined Gregory had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the exact cause of death is unclear.

The fourth shooting involved Leah Baker, who was killed by police after attacking an officer who was answering a dispute call at a home in Northwest Jacksonville. Bodycam footage shows she was holding a knife.

“What does police reform look like here in terms of JSO?” said Lashonda Holloway, an activist who attended the rally. “With JSO, it looks like releasing footage to the public within 72-hours and family within 24-hours.”

Another idea the group suggested is a police accountability council made up of civilians that can oversee training and subpoena evidence.

“We need a police involved board here to review charges of police misconduct. The time is overdue,” said Ben Frazier with the Northside Coalition.

A request for comment from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was not immediately returned.

In Minneapolis, Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Out of the thousands of deadly police shootings in the U.S. since 2005, fewer than 140 officers have been charged and seven convicted of murder, according to data maintained by Phil Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced it’s opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis. The Justice Department was already investigating whether Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd’s death violated his civil rights.

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