Students press JSO Sheriff on Black Lives Matter, police reform

Local students discuss nationwide issues with JSO

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a Zoom call Wednesday moderated by State Senator Audrey Gibson, students with the “I’m A Star Foundation” pressed JSO Sheriff Mike Williams on some of today’s hot topics.

They asked questions ranging from George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement to JSO’s budget and police reform.Williams addressed new calls for portions of police budgets to be spent in other ways.

“We have enough to get the job done, just barely,” Williams said. “So, when we talk about police reform, it’s not going to be cutting a budget in half, it’s going to be adding to it. Some of the issues we deal with like mental health, they need to be addressed a different way.”

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A recurring topic was the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a since-arrested Minneapolis officer.

Williams called it a murder, saying the officers involved deserve to be punished.

“What are your views on the Black Lives Matter movement?” student Laniya White asked.

“I think it’s the civil rights movement of our day,” Williams said. “Our role in that is to make sure we’re protecting their right to voice those concerns and making sure that whatever that activity is, as long as it’s peaceful, is protected.”

The students spoke with Williams, police union president Steve Zona, and others, for roughly an hour.

Gibson hopes the students can get together again in two weeks and analyze JSO’s budget with experts.