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‘There’s still a lot of work to do’: Tallahassee leaders reflect on the impact of George Floyd’s death one year later

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 2:19 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The impact felt in Minnesota and across the country was also felt in Tallahassee between law enforcement and the community.

Eleven days in a row. That’s how long chants of justice could be heard in the streets of Tallahassee following George Floyd’s death, which ignited a movement one year ago in the capital city.

“I think George Floyd shined a microscope on what’s been going on in the black community for a long time, not only in the black community but with policing in general,” shared Tallahassee NAACP President Mutaqee Akbar.

The death of Floyd was one of the driving factors in motivating activists to call for change they felt needed to happen not just across the country but also in Tallahassee.

“Us pulling together as a community works, us rallying together and protesting, it works,” said Tallahassee Community Action Committee’s Trish Brown. “Because I think that if we would have stayed silent but I think that those officers would’ve gotten away with what they did.”

Since those protests, a Citizen’s Police Review Board formed in Tallahassee, which is one of several changes Akbar says is helping move things in the right direction.

“It wasn’t just watching marching in the streets, and that’s what I think people need to pay more attention to,” explained Akbar. “There were real meetings with law enforcement, real meetings with the state attorneys office that talked about real policy changes and things that we want to see as a community.”

Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell says he believes with programs like the recently launched initiative “HERE For You” and the Citizens Police Academy, which graduated its most recent class Tuesday night, the community as a whole has grown a lot over the past year.

“So when I look back at this year, I’ll look at the growth of our department and I look at the growth of the community and especially that growth together because that’s a slow process,” said Revell.

While there has been improvement, most people feel there is still a long way to go.

“I mean you’re listening, I hear you listening to us but you really need to act on what we’re saying,” explained Brown.

“But we as police officers need to do our part too, to go out and continue to build that trust so that people number one feel comfortable talking to us and number two feel safe,” says Revell.

Both TPD and local activists say they hope to see continued improvement as they remember the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

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