Jacksonville citizens gather downtown to join national BLM demonstrations; officer stabbed and cars vandalized

Darvin Nelson, Features Editor

On Saturday, thousands of Jacksonville citizens gathered to join in the BLM (Black Lives Matter) protesting that have been happening in cities all over the country, inspired by the recent death of George Floyd. 

Here are some photos from the protest:

Most people protested peacefully and respectfully, but some contributed to the unrest. As the day went on, police cars were vandalized and people directly confronted the police.

Jacksonville Sheriff, Mike Williams, said about 1,200 people showed up for the protest. “We had really good cooperation from the organizers, really good cooperation from the groups,” said Sheriff Williams. “Roughly 200 people had hung around since the initial protest and began to confront police officers.”

Several police officers were attacked, multiple police cars were vandalized, and an officer’s neck was slashed, according to Sheriff Williams in an interview with News4JAX.

“It’s okay to protest peacefully, there comes a line when we start vandalizing private property that has nothing to do with police brutality. Peaceful protests are awesome, violence is where it starts turning into anarchy. When violence is introduced into the equation, the true message is lost,” said a UNF student who wished to stay anonymous.

Cities nationwide brace for possible violence and vandalism in future demonstrations. Protestors are urged to stay safe.

UNF Student Government posted a statement to their Instagram: 

“To our Ospreys and community members: The horrific acts of violence targeting Black communities have plagued our nation and left us all heartbroken. We deeply condemn all of these acts and we are more vigilant than ever in standing in solidarity with our Black students and community members. Nothing can justify the violence committed against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless number of black lives that have been lost at the hands of police brutality.  No one should have to worry about losing their lives when running, sleeping in their homes, or in any other instance purely because of the color of their skin.” 

The statement continued: “As UNF’s Student Government, We pride ourselves on representing our students with integrity, inclusivity, and equity- regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual and gender orientation, and  religion.  Our establishment is meant to be inclusive of every student and to promote justice and equality.  That being said,  it would be disingenuous to pretend like a statement from us will suffice and suddenly make the world safer for our students of color. SG will be convening soon to discuss further actions we can take to make UNF  and our surrounding communities a safe place where Black people do not have to fear for their lives. We will do everything in our power to advocate for you, no matter what.  So to our Ospreys and community members: We hear you. We value you. We respect you. We stand with you. Fly hard and swoop often.” -Student Government.


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