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Jacksonville community rallies for #Justice4Keegan

By staff |
September 3, 2017
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Jacksonville rally demands justice for of Keegan Robert.
Jacksonville rally demands justice for of Keegan Robert. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Jacksonville, FL - On Saturday, Sept. 2, the family of Keegan Roberts called for a protest outside State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office as well as a candlelight vigil at the home where Keegan was murdered by George Zimmerman wannabe Michael Centanni.

Around 60 community members, activists and local organizers were on hand for the vigil. Around 30 people attended the protest earlier that day outside the State Attorney's office.

With chants of "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!", protesters demanded justice for Keegan outside State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office.

In past weeks since the killing, the family of Keegan Roberts, along with local community organizations such as the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, have been demanding that State Attorney file charges against Centanni for the murder of Keegan Roberts. Centanni is currently using self defense or the Stand Your Ground law to avoid charges.

On July 20, Keegan Roberts, after taking his wife on a date night, was accosted and shot by neighbor, racist and Jacksonville Sheriff's office aspiring police trainee Michael Centanni. On previous occasions, Centanni had badgered Roberts. However that night, Centanni went to Roberts house looking for a fight.

After approaching Roberts’ car, harassing Roberts and his wife, Centanni gunned down Keegan, while Jacksonville Sheriff Office officers (JSO) who came to the scene immediately took the side of the white racist Centanni. JSO cops even put Keegan's wife in a police car and treated her as if she was the criminal.

"They [JSO] just assumed when they got here that Keegan was the aggressor," said Cecilia Shepard, mother of Keegan Roberts. "They treated Keegan's wife as if she was in the wrong."

At the vigil on Saturday night, local activists including Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old black teen who was killed by racist vigilante Michael Dunn in 2012, was on hand lending support for the family for Keegan.

"Since Jordan died, look at how many families have lost children, sisters and brothers, sons – killed," said Ron Davis. "We have to stop this madness."

Jordan Davis’s killer was eventually convicted for the first degree murder of Jordan Davis after three trials along with major protests demanding Dunn be convicted in Jacksonville.

At the vigil, community members heard from Keegan Roberts mother, wife, sister and other activists on their thoughts on why justice must be won. Keegan's mother even called for police accountability due to how poorly this case was handled by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

"In 2012, we saw a racist vigilante in George Zimmerman murder Trayvon Martin, with the injustice system doing nothing to get justice and it took a people’s movement to see Zimmerman arrested for his crimes and it's gonna take a similar movement here to see Centanni arrested." said Michael Sampson of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC). "Why add 100 new cops to the streets of Jacksonville when those same police can't even arrest a racist killer? It's clear racist laws like Stand Your Ground gives free range for racists to murder Black people and we need to keep demanding this murderer is jailed but also, we must make sure the police are held accountable too for their inaction in bias in how they handled the case."

Keegan Robert's family, friends, and organizations like the JCAC remain committed to seeing justice is won in the case.

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