INVESTIGATES: Protesters sue JSO after protests last May

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two protesters are suing the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Mike Williams.

This comes after they say officers attacked them during a protest last summer against the death of George Floyd.

Related Story: Jacksonville teacher reassigned following fallout over Black Lives Matter flag

Video given to Action News Jax by the protesters’ attorney shows an officer who appears to push Alecia Kirby’s face into the pavement.

Alecia Kirby and Carlos Cruz moved to Jacksonville last summer. Like many others, police brutality against the Black community sparked a call to action. On May 30th of 2020, Kirby and Cruz joined thousands in Jacksonville to protest the death of George Floyd. But that’s when they claim they experienced police violence themselves.

“We had officers deliberately attacking, without any commands of arrest, people like Ms. Kirby, like Mr. Cruz,” Kirby and Cruz’ attorney, Neil Henrichsen said.

Kirby and Cruz’ lawsuit claims Kirby was trying to leave the scene. Court documents say that’s when she was pinned to the ground, and an officer kicked her in the face and slammed her on the pavement, causing her to lose consciousness and get a concussion.

The lawsuit says Cruz was also attacked by JSO officers, saying an officer choked him and slammed him to the pavement, injuring one of his knees.

According to the lawsuit, Kirby and Cruz were taken to jail. It says officers did not give any verbal commands or tell Kirby she was being arrested. It adds that JSO had no probable cause that either protester had committed any crime.

Action News Jax reported in June when JSO announced another arrest video from the same protest was under investigation. So far, no charges for any officers have been filed following the Black Lives Matter protest.

Kirby and Cruz want JSO to make changes.

Kirby and Cruz say they’re now afraid of participating in any kind of protest.

Kirby says the experience has colored how she sees police, but adds not all officers are bad.

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Kirby and Cruz were charged with unlawful assembly; their attorney says the charges were dropped.

Action News Jax reached out to JSO to get in touch with the officers listed in the lawsuit along with Sheriff Williams.