UHURU'S PROTEST JENNIFER PORTER LEGAL SITUATION - Mitch Perry05/03/04
INTRO: This morning in downtown Tampa, approximately 18 protestors - most from the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement - demonstrated in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse, protesting the charges levied against Jennifer Porter last week in the high profile hit and run case that left 2 children dead and 2 other injured.
Porter is being charged with 1 count of leaving the scene of an accident with death, a 2nd degree felony.....But every person at this morning's demonstration say she SHOULD have also been charged with vehicular homicide...Prosecutors said last week there was NOT enough evidence to sustain such charges. (roll tape#1 o.q." crowd noise)
That was a Uhuru Movement member Ahtie Goon.........The Uhuru's have been the leading group that has focused on the racial aspects of the case.....The 28 year old Porter is white - the 2 children killed and 2 others injured are black...
Goon said that the Tampa Bay Area is becoming known for its racial injustices, and referred to a Black St. Petersburg teenager who was killed over the weekend by St. Pete Police at the end of a car chase...(roll tape#2 o.q. "on the right side")
The sense that there are 2 systems of justice in place in Tampa - and perhaps in America - gnawed at most of the protestors , like Tampa resident Elizabeth Straight (roll tape# 3O.Q. ". People in power")
A Jackson Heights man who wanted to be identified only as "Jackie" held aloft a sign saying that Jennifer Porter had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs when she was involved in the incident on North 22nd Street in Tampa that led to 2 children's death. When asked what proof he had that Porter was inebriated, he said that was the "word " in the community (roll tape#4 o.q."what went on last week")
Tampa resident James Burton expressed what he thinks would have happened had Jennifer Porter been Black (roll tape#5 o.q." for 100 yards")
And Burton said there appears to be confusion of who the true victim is in the case (roll tape#6 o.q. ' they did it") Uhuru Member Cassandra Floyd says she believes there's a host of criminal charges that she belives Jennifer Porter is guilty of (roll tape#7 o.q."is wrong") Terry Griffin says the way that authorities are treating Jennifer Porter shows calls the Porter case A Miscarraige of Justice (roll tape#8 o.q. Led off")
Griffen was joined outside the Courthouse by his son, Terry Griffin Jr....He was about to go to Court on a charge of resisting arrest...He says last month he was pulled over in the Sulpher Springs area of Tampa by local Police and arrested after being pulled over a broken taillight.......And his situation gives allows him little sympathy for Jennifer Porter (roll tape#1"and I have to go to Court?")
Jennifer Porter COULD receive a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail