Mayor Lenny Curry and Attorney John Phillips respond to tweets about Kent Stermon, days before his death

Attorney John Phillips and Mayor Lenny Curry (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A social media disagreement about Kent Stermon between Mayor Lenny Curry and local attorney John Phillips happened two days before Stermon’s death. Now the News4JAX I-TEAM is hearing from both sides.

These are the tweets between the two men, made two days before Stermon was found dead in Atlantic Beach.

Screenshot of deleted tweets of the Twitter exchange between Attorney John Phillips and Mayor Lenny Curry (WJXT)

Phillips told News4JAX I-TEAM investigator Jenese Harris that he had heard Stermon lost his JSO access and sent out a tweet about it. In a now deleted tweet, Curry defended Stermon accusing Phillips of wanting attention.

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Harris asked the attorney, “Based upon the back and forth between you and the mayor are you doing any of this for attention?”

Phillips responded, “No absolutely not. I own Folio Weekly, right, so we have an obligation to follow up on a story that frankly Folio Weekly broke.”

Phillips went on to say, “Folio weekly was the first entity to bring up Stermon’s unfettered access and I’m proud of my team for doing that. I also have a case that directly involves allegations of police misconduct related to promotions and demotions. Those two things was all I was asking about. and whether I need to.”

Phillips also said, “If I want attention, I’ve got a young man that has been shot ten times in Shands hospital that can do a press conference on. But who did the press conference? Lenny Curry, who had never met him, so I hope the citizens of Jacksonville will absolutely positively take our leaders at their word and listen to them and if they are juvenile and drawing attention to themselves through expletives, vote them out.”

News4JAX reached out to Mayor Curry for a response, and he sent us this statement.

Mayor Curry was told Kent Stermon had been admitted to the hospital with a serious health condition just hours before he saw the first tweet you are referring to, and he reacted. At that time, Mayor Curry was not aware of any police investigation involving Mr. Stermon. In addition, The Sheriff is an independent county wide elected office. JSO operations are separate from the City of Jacksonville and neither the City, or its Mayor, have any control or input regarding badge access. Mayor Curry continues to express deep concern and profound sadness for Mr. Stermon’s widow and their young daughter throughout this public ordeal.

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