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Current, former leaders speak out against protest arrests in Tallahassee

Posted at 6:33 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 18:33:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla .(WTXL) — Wednesday afternoon former, current, and future commissioners spoke out against the arrests made during the protest on Saturday.

Now, many are calling for reform in City Hall and at police headquarters.

Groups like the Florida National Organization for Women and the Southern Poverty Law Center condemned law enforcement's heavy presence.

Many said they believe it's time for Police Chief Lawrence Revell and City Manager Reese Goad to resign.

Barbara DeVane, with the Florida National Organization for Women Lobbyist, said those arrests over the weekend reminded her of when she was arrested during protests in the '60s and '70s.

"Good trouble means sometimes you have to get in trouble to do the right thing," said DeVane. "John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, they all protested in their own way against an unjust law. Slavery was legal in this country. The right to go and try to vote was illegal for many years and it took good trouble whether it be a boycott or protest."

She led a speak out Wednesday, bringing community groups together to call for change in the Capital City.

"We have failed to listen," Jack Porter, the newly-elected city commissioner. "We have failed to communicate. We have failed to act."

Voices called for a stronger Citizens Review Board, charges to be dropped against the protesters, and the resignation of Revell and Goad.

"If you ask anyone of my constituents, they will tell you and share with you stories about how the police treated them much worse than they're doing right now," said Lee Johnson, a local pastor. "We've got a big job ahead of us that we don't allow this movement to stop."

Saturday's protest was in response to a grand jury clearing three officers of wrongdoing after three separate fatal shootings.

Mayor John Dailey proposed changes to the police department last Friday including a use of force review by an outside agency, an audit of the department's use of force policy, and mental health help for those who are affected by officer-involved shootings.

"I believe that these three proposals will help us increase transparency build trust and provide a high level of response to our community," Dailey said on Friday.

The Chief will provide his public safety update at Wednesday's meeting and is expected to address the weekend protest after public comment. Many of those comments are regarding law enforcement but vary between support and criticism.

The protesters are planning to march around City Hall on Wednesday evening to demand change.