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Jacksonville protest at mayor and sheriff’s inauguration

Rally against police budget
By staff |
July 3, 2019
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Protest at mayor and sheriff’s inauguration in Jacksonville, FL.
Protest at mayor and sheriff’s inauguration in Jacksonville, FL. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Jacksonville, FL - Around 50 people gathered in downtown Jacksonville, Monday morning, July 1, to protest Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams’ inauguration. Curry and Williams both ran a campaign this spring based on law-and-order and the promise of lower crime rates. Despite the community’s demand over the last two years for less money for police and more money for community investment, Jacksonville city council and Mayor Curry repeatedly rewarded the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) with an increased budget, although crime continues to rise. The proposed JSO budget is $445 million, which is roughly a third of Jacksonville’s budget and $35 million increase over last year.

The Jacksonville Community Action Committee, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, community and labor leaders voiced their opposition to Mayor Curry and Sheriff Williams as they chanted slogans such as “Just say no to JSO,” and “Money for jobs and education, not for police and incarceration,” as city council members trickled past the protest into the venue. Community members demanded the city create a “People’s Budget” that invests in poor areas of town, public transit, education, mental health education along with other public services.

“We came out here this morning to let the city council, sheriff and the mayor know that more money to JSO while our communities are crumbling from a lack of infrastructure and public investment is a nonstarter,” said Michael Sampson of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee. “We shouldn’t fund a police state, and city council should serve the people, not JSO’s coffers.”

Activists pledged to continue keeping pressure up as the city council prepares for budget hearings coming up this fall.

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