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NAACP Calls Sheriff’s Office ‘Discriminatory’ On Orange Crush Preparations

This screengrab from video shows a past Orange Crush festival event
Orange Crush
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via Facebook

The Jacksonville chapter of the NAACP says the move by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to request jail beds in surrounding counties be made available in advance of this weekend’s Orange Crush festival is “discriminatory and unprecedented.” 

Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP, said the move by JSO shows that local law enforcement is anticipating arresting a large number of the predominantly Black festival-goers. 

“We’re very outraged that JSO would even consider getting assistance from other surrounding areas in order to make room in anticipation of the Orange Crush folks coming to town,” Rumlin said. 

The local NAACP chapter is demanding that JSO rescind its requests to surrounding counties’ law enforcement. 

Orange Crush is expected to attract as many as 20,000 young people to Jacksonville this weekend, the festival’s first turn in the First Coast after years on Tybee Island, Georgia. 

There, Orange Crush developed a reputation for rowdy partiers, with local officials making dozens of arrests related to guns and drugs, while festival organizers allege unspecified civil rights violations by local officials there. 

The NAACP’s concern was at first shared by Jacksonville’s City Council President-designate, Republican Sam Newby. In a press release, Newby, who is Black, said the move appeared to target Orange Crush festival-goers.

“I have shared my concerns with Sheriff Mike Williams,” Newby wrote. “He has assured me that this procedure is being implemented because our local jail continues to operate under Covid-19 protocols. Sheriff Williams has also assured me that the goal of this plan is not to unfairly target nor discriminate against the individuals planning to attend the Orange Crush Festival.”

“Large scale events like these are not new to our folks, and we are ready,” said Sheriff Mike Williams in a statement. “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.”

Orange Crush is scheduled to kick off Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m. with a mixer and showcase at Justice Pub Downtown. Additional events are scheduled for Huguenot Park, Mascaras, and Onyx Club.

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.