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Eric Garner protesters arrested in Jacksonville

‘Free the Jax Justice Fighters’
By staff |
December 9, 2014
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Jacksonville, FL – Nearly 20 protesters were arrested by Jacksonville police for blocking afternoon traffic on the Hart Bridge on Dec. 8. The protesters staged the demonstration in response to the recent decision by a New York grand jury to not indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo whose choking of Eric Garner, an African American man, led to his to death.

Jacksonville police gave citations to several protesters who were not directly in the street. According to protesters at the bridge, police gave no warning before making arrests. Those who were arrested were taken immediately to holding at the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility downtown.

When news broke of the arrests, several community organizations rallied people outside of the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, demanding the immediate release of all protesters and that all charges be dropped. Members of the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, the Black Lawyers for Justice, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the New Jim Crow Movement and the 904 Activist Alliance chanted and held signs outside. Many passing jailhouse visitors expressed their support. The crowd chanted, “Free the Jax justice protesters” and “Jail killer cops, not justice protesters” as the demonstration continued into the night.

Most of the protesters were charged with obstructing traffic, while several were charged with violations of probation. Police also charged one protester with “resisting arrest with violence” under questionable circumstances. At around 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 8, the arrested protesters posted bond and were expecting to be released early on Dec. 9.

The Hart Bridge shutdown was not the only protest of the day. Early on the morning of Dec. 8, about a dozen Jacksonville protesters parked cars and blocked traffic on I-95 northbound. Carrying signs that read “Black lives matter” and “I can't breathe,” the group halted traffic until police arrived and forced them onto a nearby overpass. From the overpass, they continued holding signs and chanting.

Supporters of the Jax Justice Fighters met at the Jacksonville Pre-trial Detention Facility at 8:00 a.m. on Dec. 9 to demand that authorities drop all charges against the protesters.