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Jacksonville demands justice for Vernell Bing and Keegan Roberts

By staff |
September 24, 2017
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Jacksonville, FL protest demands justice for Vernell Bing and Keegan Roberts
Jacksonville, FL protest demands justice for Vernell Bing and Keegan Roberts, and community control of police. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Jacksonville, FL - Over 75 people gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse, Sept. 20, to demand community control of the police, and to get justice for justice for Vernell Bing and Keagan Roberts. Called by the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC), just days after Jacksonville State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced no charges against Jacksonville Sheriff's Office cop Tyler Landreville for the murder of Bing in May of 2016, protesters connected the police crimes of the JSO with why a Jacksonville Police Accountability Council (JPAC) is needed.

Vernell Bing, a 22-year-old African American, was unarmed when JSO cop Tyler Landreville fired five shots last year, shooting Bing in the head execution style, near 9th and Liberty Street in Springfield, a Black working-class area of town. This led to mass community protests demanding the firing and arrest of Landreville - who is still on duty.

On July 20, Keegan Roberts, another Black worker, was murdered by a white, racist, George Zimmerman-style vigilante in his own driveway - and JSO has still not arrested his killer, Michael Centanni IV.

Protesters chanted, "When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back," as well as "Justice For Keegan.”

The mothers of Vernell Bing and Keagan Roberts were on hand at the rally and spoke to why they want justice for their sons.

"We came out here to demand State Attorney Melissa Nelson file charges to arrest to Michael Centanni IV for the killing of Keagan and let the sheriff know that will continue to fight for justice for Vernell Bing," said Jacksonville Community Action Committee organizer and protest emcee Christina Kittle. "We are demanding a JPAC because it'll shift power from the hands of the cops back to the people because we can't trust the state attorney to hold these cops accountable."

"We are continuing to sign up and talk to members of the community about why we need real police accountability and why community control is necessary," said Monique Williamson of University of North Florida Students for Democratic Society and the JCAC. "It's gonna take a movement of the people to bring the radical change we want but we know the people united will never be defeated."

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