San Marco Protest March Draws Yet Another Large Crowd
Large groups of protestors are still showing up to Northeast Florida demonstrations, with more scheduled this week.
Around a couple thousand people attended the “I Can’t Breathe Solidarity: Reflection Walk” in San Marco Wednesday evening.
Protestors assembled in Southside Park. Among their demands was for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to release police-worn body camera footage from officer-involved shootings over the past year, including footage from the fatal shooting of Jamee Johnson, a 22-year-old shot during a traffic stop in December.
During a press conference TuesdaySheriff Mike Williams said Jacksonville may see some changes to its body camera policy if the changes are legal.
“We’ve had a lot of good conversations about where a release point is, in the video, where does it become public record but does not impact the case negatively,” he said.
Williams also said he doesn’t believe this week’s protests are about Jacksonville’s body camera policies, despite local protestors’ saying that’s part of their concerns.
Speaker NV Pharaoh on Wednesday called on Williams to come to the protests and talk to the people.
‘You need to rebuild that bond and rebuild that trust with your citizens and the people of Jacksonville immediately,” he said.
Tuesday, a reporter asked Williams if he and Mayor Lenny Curry would be open to joining City Council members in a solidarity walk — Councilman Garrett Dennis has invited the mayor and sheriff to march with him this coming Sunday.
“The timing’s got to be right,” Williams said on Tuesday. “I don’t think today is the right time.”
Protestors also called for an overall change in police training and culture, and for allies to do more than post about being anti-racist on Facebook and instead lead with their actions.
Protestors marched down Hendricks Avenue and through San Marco Square. Some businesses had their storefronts boarded up, and one had a hired security officer to stand guard. A handful of counter protesters appeared to be guarding some storefronts in San Marco Square.
One of them waved a flag with a blue line in support of law enforcement.
The protest ended peacefully.
Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.