Tensions in Jacksonville are easing after the weekend riots

Few physical signs remained after days of protests in downtown Jacksonville. Still, things were different.

What was previously an empty lot next to the Jacksonville sheriff’s headquarters had become a site for a caravan protest. He called for law enforcement reforms in response to multiple police shootings and called for justice for George Floyd, who was killed on Memorial Day in Minneapolis Saturday.

By Monday, the grasslands were instead loaded with police vehicles to await further protests. Ultimately, it was a quiet day with small crowds.

Here’s a look at the aftermath.

THE ARRESTS AND JSO

More than 20 people were arrested daily during demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, which were largely peaceful but were affected by damage to police cars and offices in the city center.

Since then, a fundraiser designed to help post-bail people has met and exceeded its target, raising more than $ 50,000 by Monday night.

“The donations will be used to support those who have been deprived of civil liberties by local law enforcement,” the site said. “We will provide support for possible medical expenses as well as support for those affected in the community.”

The GoFundMe page was set up on Saturday night for the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, the group that helped organize the protest on Saturday. The page added that it would use excess money to fund future initiatives, including nutrition programs, “Know Your Rights Training,” and other events aimed at “uplifting marginalized communities,” a description said.

Sheriff Mike Williams spoke about “many arrests” Saturday night and said his office intends to release certain information but has not yet done so.

The Times-Union requested JSO to record arrest records for protests on Saturday and Sunday.

Williams said Saturday that an officer was “cut in the neck” during the demonstration and that other officers were attacked by crowds, but no additional information was released.

By Monday, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Christian Hancock said the officer had been rushed to hospital with a non-life-threatening wound and released that night.

The officer had not yet been publicly identified on Monday. The Times Union has requested reports from the Sheriff’s Office of any injuries suffered by officers during the protests.

The Jax Community Action help page included a link that people can use to request bail. On Monday afternoon, the committee reported on its Facebook page that it had helped 12 people “whose rights have been violated by JSO”.

CURFEWS

Mayor Lenny Curry announced on Monday that the city would not need a curfew for the second year in a row.

“With the help of law-abiding citizens and the hard work of law enforcement, Sheriff Williams and I have decided to lift the curfew tonight,” Curry said in an announcement posted on Twitter. “We have the capacity should it be necessary, but we really appreciate the cooperation between the people in our city.”

On Sunday, Curry and Williams agreed on an overnight curfew that began at 8 p.m. on Sunday and ended at 6 a.m. the next morning after a weekend of protests led to clashes in downtown Jacksonville.

However, critics criticized the short-term announcement of the curfew.

The 8:00 p.m. curfew was first announced around 6:30 p.m. and began on social media accounts around the city, as well as via TV and radio shows and phone calls around 7:00 p.m., giving some residents about an hour to get home.

Rae BeHage, a Springfield resident, was walking her dog when she heard the news. Your friend was at Publix and couldn’t finish shopping.

“We were in the car just before 7pm for takeout … when we heard it on the radio,” said Natasha Goldapple. The family received a text message shortly after 7 p.m. when they were already at the restaurant. “The servers were all in their arms … they were concerned about breaking the curfew.”

According to the city, the curfew did not apply to people driving home or to work, but residents say things happened too quickly.

“We needed more attention,” said Toni Bravo. “Fortunately, I was there before the curfew started.”

Advocates like Hope McMcath, an artist who owns the Yellow House Art Gallery in Jacksonville, said she spent an hour calling friends and neighbors to make sure people knew about the curfew.

“Middle-class white people had little to nothing to worry about, and I found it interesting how annoying personal safety became,” she said. “This was much more likely to affect people who live on the street or go to school or work or are called by nervous white neighbors.”

Others said the curfew – and the uncertainty that came with it – had kept them from going out to dinner, shopping and rescuing a friend from prison who was arrested earlier that day during one of the protests.

BUILDING REPAIRS

As a precaution, many city offices in the city center were closed. Only important employees reported to work again on Monday, as the city was operating under a new mayor’s declaration of emergency. Buildings like City Hall, JEA Headquarters, and others looked abandoned.

Coronavirus testing in Lot J near TIAA Bank Field and the Legends Center on Soutel Drive in northwest Jacksonville have also been suspended because of the protests.

The demonstrations over the weekend were largely peaceful. The vandalism was greatest on Saturday and was not repeated on Sunday. The Duval County Election Commissioner and the Jessie Ball duPont Center, a not-for-profit complex, were among the buildings destroyed over the weekend.

City workers replaced doors and windows in the election office. Nobody went in. No voting papers or electoral equipment were damaged or stolen.

“You could have done it, but you didn’t choose to go in,” said Hogan. “They turned and ran … we can open up completely [Tuesday]. ”

A dollar estimate for the damage has not yet been finalized, he said, adding that it was an internal cost that would come from taxpayers.

Hogan said he’s never seen anything like it in his long career as a civil servant.

“I’m really worried about our country. This affects the soul, not just the paperback. “

It wasn’t until Monday afternoon that Governor Ron DeSantis’s office issued its statement on the upheaval in the cities of Florida, saying the state has “no tolerance for violence, riot and looting”.

It came after a weekend of governor’s silence when DeSantis was silent as thousands of protesters flooded the city streets and seething over the death of Floyd, a black man killed in police custody under the knee of a white officer.

“We have allocated significant resources, including mobilizing 700 Florida National Guard Soldiers specially trained to assist law enforcement,” DeSantis said.

Around the corner at the Jessie Ball duPont Center on Adams and Ocean, broken windows were being repaired. The center – commonly known as “The Jessie” – is home to several nonprofit organizations that work to help people in need across the community.

Mari Kuraishi, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, which owns and operates the center, issued a statement Monday on the apparent cause of the vandalism.

Kuraishi said that today there are many understandable reasons why people are showing up in their solidarity and determination to be heard.

“Yesterday [Saturday] The protest started peacefully, people from all walks of life came together to seek better fellowship for everyone, but unfortunately the event turned into chaos that caused harm to people and damaged our building, the Jessie, “Kuraishi said. “While glass can be repaired, people’s lives cannot.”

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