Over the last several days, protesters have gathered to demand justice for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people who have been killed by police.
Over the time of the protests, videos emerged of attacks on protesters at the hands of law enforcement in several cities across the state, including Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
In response, the ACLU of Florida issued the following statement:
“Black people face institutional, state-sponsored terror in this country every day. The list of Black people who have been murdered by police is too long for people to ignore the institutionalized racism in our country, and it must end.
“Justice cannot be served without accountability. Law enforcement should prioritize the sanctity of human life and treat everyone with dignity. It is their oath and their duty to do so.
“And yet for too long, police officers have been able to use excessive and deadly force without repercussions. This lack of accountability erodes trust in law enforcement and makes our communities less safe.
“When there is no accountability for officer-involved shootings, it sends a signal to our communities that the system set up to ensure justice is served for victims of police violence is not a system they can believe in. Families, friends, neighbors, and loved ones should not have to continually brace themselves for the next police shooting. It is an incalculable burden to place on Black communities and it cannot stand.
“Over the last several days, we have seen egregious instances of unprovoked violence by police towards protesters. Law enforcement across the state of Florida have pepper-sprayed, tased, kicked, shoved and beaten protesters who are exercising their Constitutional right to take to the streets and demand justice. This happens too often and without consequences for the police officers who should be serving protesters, not brutalizing them. Police brutality is unacceptable in any form and should never be tolerated. Will law enforcement be held accountable for unprovoked brutal actions against protesters? Too often, the answer is no.
"We stand in solidarity with those who march, rally, and voice their dissent from policies that permit and perpetuate state-sanctioned terror of black communities.“We call on local elected officials, including mayors, city councils, police chiefs, sheriffs, and Gov. Ron DeSantis to publicly denounce these acts of violence, immediately de-escalate, and prioritize protesters’ safety and rights. We call on policy makers at every level to take real, immediate action to address the substance of the protests, through reforms that create civilian oversight for law enforcement, demilitarize police departments, and make life-affirming public investments in Black and brown communities.
“The ACLU will not stop until there is transformational and long-lasting, systemic reforms of police departments nationwide. We will not stop until the systemic racism that permeates this society and its institutions - not just police departments, but all institutions - is ended. Black Lives Matter, and we will not stop until that truth is respected and upheld by every law enforcement agency and government in this country.”