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Group working to form public safety committee to review police actions, fight racism in Jacksonville



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local organization gathered Wednesday night to have a conversation about fighting white supremacy in Jacksonville.

The meeting comes after the racially motivated shooting that killed three Black residents at Dollar General last month.

It was also a time for the group to talk about getting a public safety committee formed in Jacksonville.

The group said the committee wouldn’t just be to review police actions.

They said holding police accountable would only be a part of what they do. Another function would be to check the pulse of citizens after something major happens and to hear them out instead of shutting them down.

“I’m in the middle of having a fun time and I’m like what if someone just started shooting and that is unfortunately a thought we have to live with now,” one man said during the meeting.

During Wednesday night’s Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) meeting attendees had a chance to decompress about the racially motivated shooting.

Maria Garcia an organizer with JCAC said this was important because even though the shooting happened a few weeks ago healing has no time limit.

“It was a really traumatic event. This is something in our community that a lot of the folks that come to our meetings live close to that area. It’s just really scary that you could just be minding your business and somebody can kill you,” Garcia said.

In addition to talking about healing and ending racism in the city, it was also a chance for the organization to talk about their idea of bringing a public safety committee to Jacksonville.

“We are trying to give folks a voice into the policing of our neighborhood and our committee so in order to get that done we have to a ballot initiative basically giving the voters the say on whether they want civilian review or not,” Garcia said.

JCAC started its petition to get the public safety committee on the 2026 ballot last month. So far they have over 100 signatures.

Garcia said if this committee existed in the city it wouldn’t just be to help keep police accountable.

They would also organize events like this past Saturday’s healing session and make sure everyone is heard and not shut down like one pastor says he was.

“A public safety committee would be a good opportunity to have folks that are involved and care about the community to be able to speak out without that fear of being shut down. That’s specifically what they’re there for. Give recommendations and comment,” Garcia said.

Garcia said to get the public safety committee on the 2026 ballot they have to get over 40,000 signatures.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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