Jacksonville’s first Black sheriff criticizes ads attacking mayoral candidate Deegan, says they are dividing city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new political ad has hit the airwaves and it’s drawing a lot of attention.

The ad features former Jacksonville Sheriff Nathaniel “Nat” Glover talking about how he believes another political ad from Republicans is dividing the city.

“I will not remain quiet and allow this city to go back to the us versus them era,” Glover says in the ad. “I do not endorse political candidates, but I must speak up when it comes to these attack ads against Donna Deegan.”

RELATED: Deegan calls new mayoral attack ad ‘racially insensitive’; Davis doubles down on claim she wants to defund JSO | Mayoral candidates continue to clash over public safety approaches as election nears | Deegan faces panel of local journalists in televised event; Davis attends separate untelevised event with parents

Glover is referring to ads run by the Republican Party of Duval County that show violent Black Lives Matter protests in Jacksonville and imply Democratic mayoral candidate Donna Deegan was there. In one of the ads, current Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters endorses Republican candidate Daniel Davis.

On Thursday, Glover talked about his ad which he said is paid for by a nonpartisan group. News4JAX asked Glover if the ad is an endorsement of Deegan.

“It’s actually me trying to roll back this tension that I’ve been getting feedback on,” Glover said. “[I’ve] had a number of calls from people who said that we’re getting into this toxic environment. And as a result of that, a number did say to me, you are the person to speak out about this. And actually, it was from people who were on both sides.”

Glover said he is worried about where he sees these ads heading.

“I spoke out to try to get people to see that we could very well be going back to an era that none of us want to go back to,” Glover said.

Glover knows that era well.

“I was also in the downtown area during an Ax Handle Saturday. And I was chased by Ku Klux Klansmen with ax handles. And so I’m sensitive to this whole notion of a divided community. And we have come a long way. And I just don’t want to go back,” Glover said.

News4JAX political analyst and director of JU’s Public Policy Institute Rick Mullaney said Glover is a highly respected figure.

“One of the most respected public figures I believe in the city,” Mullaney said. “Very respected for his tenure as sheriff, respected for his tenure as president of Edward Waters College and of course, he’s a former candidate for mayor himself,” Mullaney said.

And even 20 years ago when his term as sheriff ended and he ran for mayor, vandals painted his campaign office with racist graffiti.

Glover said the city has come a long way since.

“We are a city that in the last, I’m gonna say in the last 20 years, we’ve been working together to make Jacksonville better. And I just want to make sure that we stay there,” Glover said.

News4JAX also reached out to Sheriff Waters and the other former sheriffs in Jacksonville for their reactions but we have not heard back. News4JAX also asked the Davis campaign for comment but it did not immediately respond.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.