SPLC Calls For Independent Review; MIS-C; Infant Mental Health; New Exhibit

Dec 1, 2020

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says that Devon Gregory died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the Southern Poverty Law Center is demanding an independent federal investigation into the 18-years-old’s death. The group, and other activists have been calling for more transparency and accountability in examining the police shootings of African Americans.

On November 17, JSO officers shot more than 30 rounds into Gregory’s car, which was pulled over on the Westside for a traffic stop. Police investigators said four officers opened fire after de-escalation tactics failed. The officers are on administrative leave.

Bodycam footage of the fatal shooting, along with the Medical Examiner’s ruling, informed JSO’s statement that Gregory’s fatal wound was self-inflicted with a gun in his car.

Lecia Brooks, the Chief of Staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center, joined us with her analysis, and to explain why they are calling for a further investigation.

MIS-C

Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare complication associated with COVID-19 that affected a St. Johns County teen. Doctors acknowledge they do not know everything about MIS-C yet, but it most commonly affects vital organs of children who also had the virus that causes COVID-19. It initially presents like influenza, but symptoms are unrelenting and progress quickly.

Merritt is a 16-year-old who spent a week in the ICU with the condition after an asymptomatic exposure to COVID-19. His mother, Katie, joined us on the show with a message for parents.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

Infant Mental Health

This year, keeping children healthy has been a priority in Northeast Florida communities - often leading to heated debates about the importance of balancing children’s physical and mental health needs during lockdowns; however, there is one demographic of children frequently excluded from these conversations - children in their first year of life.

Chris Lester, a co-chair of the North Florida Chapter of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health, spoke with us about the importance of meeting the mental health needs of newborns. This Friday, Dec. 4, the group is offering training and a free Zoom meeting open to the public with more information.

Women Writing For (a) Change

Dozens of local artists showcase their work in Women Writing for (a) Change’s new exhibit this month, ahead of the group’s Anthology release this weekend. Jennifer Wolfe, the group's executive director, told us more.

Katherine Hobbs can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.