Tampa Bay students lead rally for community control of the police, justice for George Floyd
Tampa, FL – On Monday, June 8, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC) led a crowd of around 500 on a march through the historic neighborhood of Ybor City to demand community control of the police in the Tampa Bay Area. The march ended at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) building, where protesters demanded charges be dropped for the hundreds of protesters arrested by HCSO over recent weeks.
Elizabeth Kramer, an organizer with TBCAC, stated, “The vast majority of arrested protesters have been completely peaceful, and the manner in which HCSO and TPD have cracked down on these protests show that they are not interested in allowing peaceful protests. So, we have to demand that the charges for the many arrested protesters be dropped!”
This event comes during the huge movement around the country to demand justice for African American victims of police violence like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Various cities around the country have also demanded entirely new police accountability structures, such as Civilian Police Accountability Councils – a central demand of the protest. While most cities have police review boards, they are not democratically-elected and do not have disciplinary nor funding negotiating powers.
“Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd, had 18 official complaints on his record,” said Eithne Silva of Tampa Bay SDS. “The fact that he did not receive any real consequences for previous instances of violence against the community shows that the police department is incapable of policing itself. This is why we need community control of the police.”
The hundreds-strong march is an indication of the continuing fight for police accountability and people’s need for justice for police crimes in Tampa Bay and across the country.