ACLU of Florida Statement on Arrests at Jacksonville Anti-War Demonstration
JACKSONVILLE, FL. - On Friday, April 7th five participants were arrested at an anti-war demonstration at Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville. Videos from the scene show officers throwing multiple people to the ground, and one officer repeatedly punching a man whose arms were restrained.
Responding to the arrests, Kirk Bailey, Political Director of the ACLU of Florida stated:
“The ACLU of Florida is deeply concerned about the treatment and arrest of demonstrators Friday night in downtown Jacksonville. We have spent the last several days communicating with individuals who were present, including some of the individuals who were arrested, and are in the process of initiating an investigation into potential civil rights violations.
“The right of individuals to join their fellow citizens in public demonstration is critical to our democracy, and the role of police at a protest is to keep protesters and non-protesters alike safe. It is particularly disturbing when police use their authority to break up a protest. Questions remain in this case about surveillance of groups involved in the event, whether and why some individuals were targeted for arrest over others, and especially the violent degree of force used in the arrests.
“We are encouraged by Sherriff Williams’ recent statement about reviewing training and procedures and look forward to partnering with his office and Mayor Curry to hold him to that—to make sure everyone’s right to free speech, expression, and assembly are fully protected, regardless of political affiliation, race, or other classes.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.