Activists demand black control of the police in their neighborhoods


In the wake of a series of police killings around the country, Sunday in St. Petersburg community activists held a forum on police violence and institutional racism. The city’s new police chief backed out of participating- which didn’t sit well with the audience.

The forum was sponsored by the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement at their headquarters on 18th Avenue South. About 100 people attended. One of the speakers- Rev. Manuel Sykes Pastor of the Bethel Community Baptist Church said he was concerned about how law enforcement officers interact with people living in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

What exactly does taking back the community entail? Omali Yeshitela, one of the panelists and founder of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, told the crowd.

The statistics are fuzzy concerning the total number of blacks killed at the hands of law enforcement per year. There is no hard data gathered from around the US. But the US Bureau of Justice Statistics shows clearly that blacks are 4 times more likely than whites to have their car searched after routine traffic stops. Jason Mills, a St. Pete resident, said he is living proof of police profiling.

Ashley Green has been protesting the police killing of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. She said she was disappointed at the lack of youth involvement in the panel discussions.

Saint Petersburg’s new police chief was invited to the Uhuru event, but did not attend. In a telephone interview, Chief Anthony Holloway, told WMNF that he already spoke with the Uhuru people. Holloway said he needed to gather more information before he could address the whole community. He says he’ll do that next month.

Another aspect of the nation wide protesting is the lack of ethical media coverage. Jenise Morgan, senior editor of the independently owned black newspaper, the Florida Courier, urged attendees to send her their stories.

Tuesday at the James Weldon Johnson Branch Library police Chief Holloway will attend a meeting to discuss his department’s interaction with the Black community. The Uhuru Movement plans to protest this event.

You may also like

Transgender flag
Florida bill targeting trans drivers license identification stalls in Senate, passes House

Listen: A controversial bill forcing transgender people to identify their...

guns gun violence die-in
The Florida House passes a bill to overturn one post-Parkland safety measure by lowering the age to buy rifles

The Florida House on Friday passed a controversial bill that...

pelican tampa bay st. pete kayak
St Pete has extended the date for their “Pulse Check” survey

City of St Petersburg has extended the date for residents...

The Florida Legislature passes a bill for disclaimers on AI political ads; it now heads to the governor

Florida lawmakers passed a measure to require disclaimers on political...

Ways to listen

WMNF is listener-supported. That means we don't advertise like a commercial station, and we're not part of a university.

Ways to support

WMNF volunteers have fun providing a variety of needed services to keep your community radio station alive and kickin'.

Follow us on Instagram

Soul Party
Player position: