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Shooting Victim's Friend Interrupts Jax Sheriff Candidate's News Conference

Ken Jefferson for Sheriff

Jacksonville Sheriff candidate Ken Jefferson is being endorsed by the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association. Jefferson made the announcement today on a Northwest Jacksonville street corner where a 16-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting last month.

He stresses the need for police to build trust in the community.  But one neighborhood man’s reaction to the news conference shows there’s a long road ahead toward that goal.

Democrat Ken Jefferson is in a seven-way race that will narrow to two candidates after the March 24 primary. He and members of the Police Benevolent Association talked next to a makeshift memorial marking where teenager DevronCrowden died.

Jefferson says police should change tactics to help reduce violence. He says, “I want to get the police officers out of the cars, introduce them back to the public so that we can start building a relationship, have a conversation, stop by sometimes and talk to some young men.”

One young man, who says he grew up with Crowden, is skeptical. 

“What is he going to do for the Northside? When they get in office, they get paid, they get status, they forget everything they said, they forget every promise that they made, so what is he going to do?" he asks. The man, who declined to give his name, stopped by the press conference, yelling obscenities at the assembled police officers and, at one point, loudly singing "We Shall Overcome" as Jefferson talked. 

Whoever gets elected in May has to first face off in the March primary. Here are the candidates: 

  • Tony Cummings - Democrat
  • Jay Farhat - Republican
  • Jimmy Holderfield - Republican
  • Ken Jefferson - Democrat
  • Lonnie McDonald - Republican
  • Rob Schoonover - Republican
  • Mike Williams - Republican
Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP