JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As residents of the City of Jacksonville walked into the Times Union Center of the Performing Arts for the inauguration of Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams, they passed by dozens of protestors on the sidewalks.
Anti-violence protestors are on the steps of Times Union Center for the Mayor/Sheriff Inauguration.— Elizabeth Pace (@PaceAnJax) July 1, 2019
They say they want to see the city’s budget shared equally throughout Jacksonville, rather than a raise with JSO. @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/kECtbibjwO
Two local advocacy groups, Northside Coalition and Jacksonville Community Action, said they were fighting for equal opportunities in Jacksonville, starting with the city’s budget.
“People are crying out for jobs, crying out for job training and we keep talking about hiring more cops and buying more technology. That’s not, in and of itself, the answer,” President of Northside Coalition Ben Frazier said.
Frazier disagrees with how much of the city’s budget went to JSO this fiscal year. According to online records, the city approved a $1.2 billion dollar budget. JSO received $30 million dollars more this fiscal year than last fiscal year.
In recent years, many people in Jacksonville have called for a larger JSO budget to hire more officers and outfit police with body cameras. A portion of their budget also goes towards contractual requirements or equipment. But as the violence continues to increase across town, community leaders are calling for a new approach.
NOW: We’re outside of the Times Union Center for Performing Arts where a protest is taking place before the inauguration of Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams: https://t.co/fBgcraDYMW pic.twitter.com/AfazUB5HkV— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) July 1, 2019
“I have nothing against the police, I love the fact that they’re there and supportive,” Neighbor Michelle Walk said. “But at the same time, it needs to be balanced all the way across.”
“They think they can resolve gun violence by hiring more police officers or by investing more in technology,” Frazier said. “It’s going to take more than that folks. There is not going to be any substantial reduction in gun violence in this city until there is a recognition of the connection between economics and gun violence.”
As Mayor Curry takes on his second term, he has told Action News Jax his top priority is public safety. We will soon learn how that plays into his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.
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