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Jacksonville remembers Justin Knight, demands sheriff accountability

By staff

Community vigil for Justin Knight.  | Staff/Fight Back! News

Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville community joined together for a vigil on Tuesday, June 11, to honor the life of 36-year-old Justin Knight. The community joined Knight 's family and friends around the newly rebuilt Friendship Fountain in downtown Jacksonville. Loved ones, along with community members, shared about Knight's life while also demanding answers about his death.

Justin Knight's death raises the ever present concern about the lack of accountability for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO). On March 30, Knight was arrested for allegedly trespassing. He was booked into the county jail at 1:40 a.m., and at 4:20 a.m. he was admitted to UF Health (Shands) Hospital by JSO. Justin was unconscious at the time he was admitted and was immediately placed on life support.

It took JSO almost two days to notify Knight's family that he was on life support, and once they were notified, their visitations were limited until Knight was bonded out. On April 1, Knight was bonded out, and his family discovered his body was badly bruised. While JSO claims that Knight was revived both at the jail and at the ER, his medical records indicate he had multiple organ failures upon arrival at UF Health Hospital. Knight did not regain consciousness, and he died on April 6.

Knight's loved ones are seeking answers from JSO about how an alleged trespassing charge led to the loss of a man's life. Community members at the vigil echoed the family's sentiments and expressed that if JSO is not held accountable for their treatment of Justin Knight, they will simply continue this harm on others.

Maria Garcia of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee said, “They will do what they did to Justin to other people's children. Justin was someone's son. He was somebody's father, somebody's brother. He was a valued and cherished member of the community. And he was taken away senselessly because JSO acts and behaves like they are above the law.”

The Jacksonville community is demanding answers from Sheriff T.K. Waters. Local community groups urge concerned citizens to contact the sheriff asking for answers surrounding the death of Justin Knight. The family, along with the community, plan to continue their demand for justice until JSO is held accountable for their behavior.

The JCAC has called for the creation of Public Safety Committee to have civilian oversight of JSO for cases such as this.

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