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Students, community demand justice for Jeremy Lett and end to police terror

By Zachary Schultz |
February 27, 2015
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Tallahassee, FL - On Feb. 25, students and community members rallied at the Leon County Courthouse, demanding that Officer David Stith of the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) be fired and jailed for killing Jeremy “Jed” Lett, a young African American man.

On Feb. 3, TPD Officer David Stith shot and killed Jeremy Lett outside of his apartment complex. Police claim Lett matched the description of a burglary suspect from the complex. Lett was unarmed and had no criminal record. Officer Stith is now on paid administrative leave.

Outside the Leon County Courthouse, student protesters held signs, “End police brutality” and “Jail killer cops.” Regina Joseph of the Tallahassee Dream Defenders led chants, “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” and “Jeremy means we have to fight back.”

During the rally, Shivaani Ehsaan from the Dream Defenders called for “an end to police terror in Tallahassee and for the implementation of a civilian review board with firing power over the police department.”

After the rally, the students marched into the courthouse. They stormed the State Attorney’s Office, to ask him to press charges against Officer David Stith. The receptionist at the office told the protesters that Meggs was not available.

“We tried to set up a meeting with William Meggs, but he is refusing to meet with us,” explained Brian Marshall from the Tallahassee Dream Defenders.

Ellena Fisher, with Dream Defenders said, "Everyone in the office was not the least bit concerned as to why we were there. They didn’t care about Jeremy’s death.”

The students chanted and sung hymns, demanding that Meggs come out and meet with them. Police came into the lobby and threatened to arrest them for disruption. The students were not discouraged however, and continued to chant, demanding a response from the state attorney.

After a few minutes a representative from the office came out to speak with the protesters. He said that the state attorney would not be meeting with them.

“There is a dire need for institutional change within the political structure and how our officials are not even responding to our needs,” said Lenisha Gibson, a Florida State junior.

Another student, Naomi Bradley, added, "William Meggs is a coward, and we will no longer stand for his failure to defend Black and Brown bodies.”

The students vow to continue the campaign to attain justice for Jeremy “Jed” Lett. The grand jury convenes Feb. 26 at 8:30 a.m. to decide whether or not to indict David Stith.