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Tallahassee protesters outside city hall demand police reform

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The chants of “Black Lives Matter” were heard Wednesday as protesters circled the city hall building in Tallahassee.

The group is demanding police reform in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee says the message is not a new one. The group has been demanding this change since protests began nationwide back in May.

Specifically, the protesters want city commissioners to establish a community controlled accountability council for the Tallahassee Police Department, replacing a review board currently in place. The push is in response to the three officer-involved shootings that have happened in 2020.

Protesters say they won’t stop taking the streets until they achieve the justice they seek.

“There’s still no justice around here so there can’t be peace in the streets,” said Unitarian Universalist Minister E.N. Hill.

The protesters are requesting that the CPAC is led by members of the community and no one already involved in city politics.

“We need people who actually care about the community, not people who are just looking at what the people are doing and pushing it forward,” exclaimed Hill.

This initiative gives citizens a chance to make a change.

“CPAC actually gives real power to elected officials who aren’t connected with the police or the police benevolence association,” explained TCAC president Regina Joseph.

City commissioner Jeremy Matlow tells WCTV that the city commission has been contacted by the group and says they’re requests are feasible, but will take time.

“There are a few obstacles,” said Commissioner Matlow. “Some of the things that they want to do would require a city charter change, which would essentially have to go to voters on a ballot.”

Due to COVID-19, residents will also need to wait another month for a grand jury to convene for the three officer involved shootings in Tallahassee. Protesters saying this shows that grand jury’s are not reliable.

“It goes to show you just how little these grand jury’s are able to bring justice quickly and swiftly for those victims of police crimes,” said Joseph.

Joseph is asking for others to stay the course and remember what they’re fighting for.

“It’s really important for us to continue having that momentum so we don’t have these politicians think that we have forgotten why we’re here,” said Joseph.

Representatives from TCAC say that until the community has the power to make a change they feel that justice will never be served.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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