Jacksonville city councilman resigns from Safer Together Committee citing ‘volatile’ meetings

“I’d hoped better for all of us in this process,” Jacksonville council member Michael Boylan said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville council member Michael Boylan has stepped down as vice chair of the Safer Together committee, which works to build trust between police and locals.

The police killing of Black men like George Floyd sparked the late council president and former mayor Tommy Hazouri to create the committee last June.

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Boylan’s announcement came Monday. He tells Action News Jax he grappled with the decision over the weekend, and that Friday’s meeting led to the decision.

He tells Action News Jax the decision to step down wasn’t easy.

“I would not have gotten involved in this, I’m from Mandarin, middle-aged white guy. It would’ve been easy for me to say ‘I’m not going to touch this with a 10-foot pole.’ It mattered to me. I care about this. I care about the relationship between citizens of our community,” Boylan said.

In Boylan’s resignation letter to city council president Samuel Newby, he cited a meeting on Friday in which citizens made “disparaging assertions and unwarranted accusations towards fellow citizens who have chosen to protect and serve them.”

Boylan said he’d made clear all along he would not support a civilian incident review board.

Council member and committee chair Joyce Morgan says she is disappointed that Boylan stepped down.

“We had conversations that were indeed tough, but I think they are conversations needed in this community, and needed across our country, by the way. When you look at what’s going on, we need tough conversations,” Morgan said.

She admitted sometimes the meetings were a little heated.

“It’s tough, but it’s not intended to hurt. It’s intended to make us think and be more thoughtful, and hopefully become more respectful of each other,” Morgan said.

As for Boylan, he says he’s disappointed he had to step down.

“I’d hoped better for all of us in this process,” he said.

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Newby shared a memo Wednesday afternoon thanking both council members Morgan and Boylan for their hard work on the committee. The letter did not seem to indicate a replacement for Boylan. Action News Jax has called and emailed Newby, and is waiting for a response.