Attorneys, activists call for charges to be dropped against man and woman in shooting of officer during police raid

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local activists, Dignity Power, and neighbors are calling for charges to be dropped in a raid that resulted in the shooting of an officer from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Action News Jax first reported this incident, that happened off of Ken Knight Drive, in September 2020.

Diamonds Ford and her fiancé Anthony Gantt were arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and armed possession of marijuana with intent to sell following a raid on their home on Sept. 28, 2020.

Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole attended a news conference today to speak to the law firms, representing each client, to learn why they’re working to get charges dropped against Ford and Gantt.

Dignity Power, the Jacksonville Chapter of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, and neighbors gathered outside of the Duval County Courthouse on Monday morning chanting this message to State Attorney Melissa Nelson:

“Drop the charges!”

“Drop the charges!”

“This is just the first step in our fight because we will not let up until the charges are dropped,” said Danielle Chanzes, an organizer with Dignity Power.

Ford’s attorney, Stephen Kelly of Wade Roll and Associates, PA, said Ford spent 130 days in jail and was being held on a $535,000 bond.

Ford bonded out Friday, Feb. 5, with the help of community organizations across the country, including Dignity Power, The National Bail Fund Network, and The Minnesota Freedom Fund.

“The money that came in to get her free came from Oakland, came from Minnesota, came from Pennsylvania, came from bail funds all across the country,” Chanzes said.

Ford’s fiancé, Gantt, remains in jail on a $350,000  bond.

His lawyer, BeJae Shelton of Finnel McGuinness Nezami & Andux, PA, told Cole they are trying to get that amount down to something he can afford.

According to the JSO Arrest and Booking Report, the JSO Narcotics Unit,  JSO SWAT and the Drug Enforcement Administration served a residential search warrant at a home on the corner of Rutledge Pearson Drive and Ken Knight Drive.

Law enforcement said the warrant was based on narcotics activity occurring over several months involving the residence.

Investigators said they obtained evidence of numerous drug activities taking place in and around the residence, but none of that evidence was explained in detail in the report.

The report indicates SWAT detectives announced their presence via a loudspeaker.

According to the report witnesses in the area confirmed hearing the police announcement over the loudspeaker.

But Kelly said that’s not the case.

“I think, in this case, the first interaction with this home was a break-and-rake, on the bedroom window. I believe that’s what caused Ms. Ford to act in a manner that she did,” Kelly told Action News Jax.

According to the report, Ford  was asleep with her fiancé when they were “awakened by the sound of glass breaking in the bedroom.”

Ford told police Gantt gave her the handgun nearby and told her, “They’re coming in. Shoot at the windows.”

Kelly said Ford shot her gun in self-defense, ran into the bathroom and called 911.

“It is as simple as this. You do not call the police on the police when you have knowingly shot the police, especially not in that part of town,” said Kelly.

Detective R.M. Nauss, the officer shot, did survive the shooting.

“Miss Ford, just hearing her voice, she was in fear. She thought that she was going to die that day,” said Kelly.

Action News Jax does not have access to the 911 calls yet. They are exempt because of the current status of the case.

Kelly said they have been talking to the assistant state attorney and are hopeful justice will be served.

“Melissa, my sister, drop the charges against this mother who was protecting her daughter,” said Tray Johns, of Dignity Power.

Cole is working to learn if the officers were wearing body cameras. The report indicates, “Yes,” but Ford’s attorney told me otherwise.

The law team tells Cole its next steps are to prepare to interview all of the witnesses.

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