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Tallahassee gathers for vigil and speakout for FAMU student killed by sheriff

#JusticeForJamee!
By staff |
December 26, 2019
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Vigil and speak out for FAMU student killed by JSO.
Vigil and speak out for FAMU student killed by JSO. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Tallahassee, FL - On December 21, over 50 members of the Tallahassee community joined with Jamee Johnson’s friends and family at the Eternal Flame on Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s (FAMU) campus to honor the life of the 22-year-old senior who had recently been killed by police.

His life was taken December 14 by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) Officer J. Garriga, who shot Johnson four times during a traffic stop. Police have referred to Johnson’s possession of a legal concealed weapon to justify the shooting, despite acknowledging he had informed them of its presence. The family’s attorney, civil rights lawyer Lee Merrit, called for the release of the unedited body cam footage in a statement on December 16, and has questioned the police narrative, which conflicts with witness testimony.

Family members of Jamee Johnson drove from as far as Gainesville and Tampa to attend Saturday’s vigil, which was called for and planned by the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC), with FAMU Dream Defenders co-hosting and mobilizing for attendance.

The vigil opened with music from Kodak Black, one of Jamee Johnson’s favorite artists. Many attendees brought handmade posters, with statements including “Long live Jamee,” “Rest in power,” “Community control of police” and “Black lives matter.”

Through speeches and shared memories, statements, chants and songs, TCAC and Dream Defender organizers - and attendees who accepted the mic - encouraged attendees to channel the energy that fueled them to attend the vigil into organizing for direct-action campaigns, and to win real-world demands for police transparency and accountability. Many attendees signed up to do exactly that.

Led by Regina Joseph of the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, the crowd chanted, “Say his name,” “Justice for Jamee” and “People power!”

“Less talk, more action!” Dream Defender Squadd member Marie Rattigan voiced, and the crowd chanted it back.

When asked why Community Control of the Police was emphasized at the vigil, Joseph answered, “It’s important that we make sure no other family goes through this. We need community control of the police through an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council so that there is actual justice for those who are victims of police crimes.”

Organized efforts to demand transparency and justice are already underway, and there is a follow-up Justice for Jamee vigil planned, again at the Eternal Flame on FAMU campus, for Saturday, January 4, 2020.

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