NAACP CALLS NEWS CONFERENCE DEMANDING FBI & FDLE TO INVESTIGATE JENNIFER PORTER CASE - Mitch Perry06/14/04
Over the weekend, local and state NAACP officials called on the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to independently investigate a hit and run incident in North Tampa in March that killed 2 children and has sparked accusations of unequal justice.
The President of the Hillsborough NAACP, Dr. Sam Horton, also says the SherriffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Office and State AttorneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office should pursue a vehicular homicide case against 28 year old Jennifer Porter. The Land OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Lakes teacher has admitted to driving a car that was involved in the incident that killed 13 year old Bryant Wilkins and 3 year old Durantae Caldwell. (roll tape#1 o.q. Ã¢â‚¬Å“to 15 yearsÃ¢â‚¬?).
And Horton compared the Porter case with that of Alan Thompson Jr., the 24 year old Odessa man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing 18 year old Christopher Fannan with a single punch to the head. Thompson is black, Fannan was white.
(roll tape#2 Ã¢â‚¬Å“justice has been servedÃ¢â‚¬?)
Jennifer Porter Ã¢â‚¬â€œalong with high priced attorney Barry Cohen Ã¢â‚¬â€œ held a news conference 5 days after the incident, confessing that she was driving a Toyoto Echo, one of several cars that was present when the hit-and-run occurred on North 22nd Street.
The March 31st incident and how it has been handled by local law enforcement has infuriated many members of the African-American community in TampaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.Immediately after the accident and funeral for the 2 slain children, members of the Uhuru movement held protests arguing that there was a separate level of justice being applied to Jennifer Porter.
Now, 2 months later, the more conservative, staid , NAACP is joining in on the unease in the community. Members of the venerable Civil Rights organization say theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve heard anger from the community on how the Porter case has been handled virtually Ã¢â‚¬Ëœevery dayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
At different points during SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s News Conference, held at the ChapterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s headquarters on M artin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Sam Horton Horton said the NAACP was now getting involved in the case because of the apparent lack of justice being applied (roll tape#3 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?law enforcement communityÃ¢â‚¬?) But later on , Horton acknkowledged the racial implications (roll tape #4 Ã¢â‚¬Å“in this caseÃ¢â‚¬?) Also at SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s news conference was Florida NAACP President Adora Obi Nweze. She wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sure that going to the FDLE and the FBI is going to provide a different outcome than from Hillsborough County (roll tape#5 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?from the local entityÃ¢â‚¬?) Calls to the FBI and FDLE were not returned by airtime.