In a dramatic development Aug. 11 surrounding the Justice for Kofi! campaign, the University of Florida fired police officer Lt. Stacy Ettel. Ettel was the commanding officer at the scene of the shooting of University of Florida graduate student Kofi Adu-Brempong. Another officer, Keith Smith, shot Adu-Brempong in the face when campus police broke into his on-campus apartment on the night of March 3.
In response, the Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) led three protests demanding that the officers involved in this racist shooting be fired. SDS and the Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality marched on campus and through Gainesville, on separate occasions occupying two University of Florida (UF) administration buildings and the State Attorney’s office to deliver their message of “Justice for Kofi!” Hundreds of students and African-American community members marched and protested to force the police and the UF administration to drop the outrageous criminal charges placed against Adu-Brempong - the victim of the police shooting.
Gainesville Area SDS is promising to expand their anti-police brutality campaign, as more
instances of police brutality and harassment are uncovered in the community. Recent court
documents indicate that since 2008, William Scott Richard, a University Police Department
officer, repeatedly stalked a young female student at UF. The police dragged their feet in taking action against Richard even after the young woman reported his activities to UPD. This allowed Richard to continue stalking the young woman after the first complaints were filed, until another police agency became involved in the investigation. The UF administration is prone to sweeping the crimes of its officers under the rug, attempting to hide the truth and ignoring the problem with rotten cops.
SDS and the Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality are gearing up for the fall semester
with new actions and calls for justice. Justin Wooten, a member of Students for a Democratic
Society, said, "The administration thinks they can play games with the lives of students. We're
going to show them that people will no longer tolerate police brutality in Gainesville, or anywhere for that matter. Our protests are our way of bringing power back into the hands of the community, where it belongs."
Students at the University of Florida and members of the Gainesville community are making
great strides in their fight against police brutality, but more actions are required if full justice is to be won against dirty cops. The people of Gainesville will continue to escalate their struggle against racism and oppression until violent cops no longer terrorize the community.