JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About a dozen members of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and members of the faith community plan to observe events during the Orange Crush Festival over the weekend.
In a letter to media outlets, Ben Frazier, the leader of the advocacy group, expressed concern over the decision of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to request help from surrounding counties for the temporary housing of inmates.
Frazier’s statement reads: “We are bothered by the Sheriffs [sic] moves to make (extra room in the Duval County jail) in anticipation of this event. Why is that?”
A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office called it a “precautionary measure.”
Frazier said he would like reassurance from Williams that people at the festival will be treated fairly by members of law enforcement.
Williams released a statement that reads:
“I am confident the men and women of JSO will provide an exceptional level of service to both our residents and our visitors for this busy weekend. As always, JSO is here to assist anyone in need. We want everyone to have a safe and fun weekend.”
To ensure officers are doing their due diligence, Frazier said members of the coalition will be attending some of the Orange Crush events.
“They’re there to monitor not only people who are there, to offer them advice, but to keep the peace,” Frazier said.
Frazier said he reached out to state Rep. Angie Nixon who, he said, is also concerned. He said together they have received commitments from members of the faith community to go on-site to several events to act as impartial observers.
“History, research has shown and proved many members of the Black community are often overpoliced,” Nixon said. “That’s something we don’t want to happen. We don’t want kids who are, many of them are in college, to be arrested and ruin their lives possibly because their civil rights have been violated.”
The organizer of the festival expects 20,000 to attend Orange Crush events.