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Jacksonville activists blast State Attorney Corey for clearing the cops who murdered D'Angelo Stallworth

By Dave Schneider |
September 7, 2015
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Jacksonville, FL – On Sept. 4, 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Angela Corey cleared the two white police officers who shot and killed D'Angelo Stallworth, a 28-year-old African American father in Jacksonville. Two Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) deputies killed Stallworth outside his apartment in May of this year while serving an eviction notice on a neighbor. Stallworth's death sparked mass outrage and several large protests from the community demanding justice.

In the report clearing the officers, Corey calls the police murder of Stallworth “justifiable use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.”

Contradictions in the state attorney's report

Local media, attorneys and activists immediately seized on several major contradictions in Corey's report.

“What this is about is a shooting that clearly makes no sense,” said Eric Block, the attorney for Stallworth's family, in a press conference called in response to the non-indictment.

Corey's report repeats the officers' claims that they “feared for their lives” after claiming Stallworth pulled a gun and pumped it in their chest. However, the report cites the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's DNA analysis of the gun found at the scene, which found only DNA from a JSO investigator. Corey's own report explicitly states, “Stallworth was excluded as a possible contributor to the DNA mixture collected from the pistol,” a fact that completely undermines the JSO officers' stories.

“Whether or not there is a gun is under dispute,” added Block at the press conference. “But assuming there is a gun, having one that doesn't have D'Angelo's DNA just doesn't make sense.”

Corey's record for disregarding Black lives

On May 12, Stallworth, father of three, was shot six times by two white police officers serving an eviction; they claimed that they thought D'Angelo looked suspicious. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting and an independent autopsy ordered by the family indicates that police shot him in the back as he ran away - in other words, executing him.

“Angela Corey once again has shown her disdain for the African American community,” said Wells Todd, a lead organizer with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition (JPC). “Once again the officers' account of the killing does not match the evidence that has been gathered. Once again the police have been given the green light to gun down African Americans with impunity. D'Angelo Stallworth is yet another victim in the war being waged against the Black community of Jacksonville, Florida.”

Since she was elected state attorney in 2008, Corey has come under fire from activists in Jacksonville and around the country. In addition to leading the state of Florida in prosecuting Black juveniles as adults, Corey botched the prosecution of George Zimmerman, the racist vigilante who killed 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin in Sanford. In 2014, she sought a 60-year prison sentence for Marissa Alexander, an African American mother who fired a warning shot in the air to fend off her abusive husband. A nationwide movement to 'Free Marissa Now' pressured Corey into offering a plea deal that included less than two months of jail time.

Angela Corey: Loyal tool of the police

For many people, Corey's decision to clear the two officers who murdered Stallworth follows her pattern of always siding against the victims of police crimes. In her nearly seven years in office, Corey has never once indicted a police officer for wrongful use of force, despite dozens of police killings during her tenure.

“Anyone who's been paying attention could see that was coming from a mile away,” said Connell Crooms, a member of the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition and an organizer in the deaf community. “Corey has never charged cops for their crimes. But the fact of the matter is there are still questions that remain, and Corey's office won't answer them with honesty or integrity. We need another investigation from outside neutral parties.”

Like many, Crooms questions Corey's honesty and integrity because of her disturbingly close relationship with the police. When she initially won the office of state attorney in 2008, Corey was endorsed by the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and had close ties to disgraced former FOP president Nelson Cuba. Since at least 2004, Cuba had used the FOP's political muscle to pressure Corey's predecessor, Harry Shorstein, into designating her as his successor for state attorney.

In 2013, Cuba and the FOP vice president were indicted by federal authorities for their involvement in a $300 million racketeering scandal involving money laundering. Despite a four year federal and local investigation, Corey never opened an investigation on Cuba.

For Corey's 2008 campaign, at least 10% of the $534,507.75 she raised came from police officers and their families in 2008, according to research by the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition and records from the Florida Division of Elections.

The Jacksonville Progressive Coalition has waged an ongoing campaign to force Angela Corey out of office. People interested in learning more should visit the “Angela Corey Out NOW” Facebook page or the JPC website: http://jacksonvilleprogressivecoalition.org

The friends and family of D'Angelo Stallworth will announce future plans to win justice in the coming days.

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