Jacksonville Community Action Committee demands no new cops
Jacksonville, FL – On Sept. 4, Labor Day, a few dozen members of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee as well as family members of Keegan Roberts gathered on the steps of City Hall for a press conference to demand the Jacksonville City Council vote no on a new city budget that would add 100 new cops to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO). They also demanded police accountability and community control of the police.
The crowd heard from leaders of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee as well as the mother of Keegan Roberts, Cecelia Shepard, who added to voice to the opposition to the 100 new JSO cops.
“I don't feel like we need 100 new officers either,” said Shepard. “The officers treated her terribly that night [Keegan's wife after the shooting by officer Centanni] and they threw her in a cop car and laughed. You don't stand outside a car and laugh. You're giving a bad message to the community, especially the young people, telling them it's ok to kill and it's not right.”
The family of Keegan Roberts holds the JSO accountable for Keegan's death because they have not made the arrest of his murderer and due to the outrageous way the cops treated the family after Keegan was killed.
Numerous victims of police brutality and JSO misconduct have spoken out at city council meetings and other venues in the past about how 100 new cops isn't the answer and how city budget money should be spent on jobs, education and the impoverished areas of town as opposed to gifting JSO with more money and resources.
“When our representatives fail to represent the community, it's up to the people to organize,” said Christina Kittle, a leader with the Jacksonville Community Action Committee. “City council representatives let a $4.4 million budget for 100 more cops go through the finance committee, despite hearing and reiterating the concerns of the people and the empirical data showing no correlation between more cops and less crime. This shows the existing system does not work and why we need to push for a Jacksonville Police Accountability Council, actual community control of the police.”