Wednesday, April 07, 2010
FLORIDA STUDENTS PROTEST POLICE SHOOTING
3. Implementation of independent review board for the UF Police Department.
4. Indefinite unpaid suspension of the shooter pending investigation.
250 protest shooting
Equipped with new chants but the same purpose, about 250 people crowded on Turlington Plaza Tuesday afternoon to protest the University Police Department shooting of a UF graduate student.
Kofi Adu-Brempong was shot by officer Keith Smith on March 2 at his Corry Village apartment.
Protesters gathered to inform people about the shooting and express concern about the administration’s response to the incident.
A similar rally was held March 16, when protesters marched from Turlington Plaza to Emerson Hall and Tigert Hall.
At Tuesday’s rally, marchers held signs reading “UF show you care for justice not for $$$” and “We came to study, not to get shot.” One sign, written in the Ghanaian-language Akan, read “we miss you Kofi, justice for Kofi.”
Valesca St. Cyr, a communication sciences and disorders senior, said she’s been reconsidering staying at UF for graduate school because she feels a similar incident could have happened to any student.
“It could happen to you if you stay here,” St. Cyr said.
The protesters marched to Tigert Hall to deliver a list of demands to the UF administration.
On the way, the protestors chanted, “Campus cops, it’s not your place to shoot a student in the face.”
They were met by Dave Kratzer, associate vice president of student affairs, who accepted their demands.
“I hear you loud and clear,” Kratzer said.
Kratzer helped schedule a meeting Thursday between rally organizers and Brian Beach, the senior vice president for administration and business ventures.
The protesters’ demands included dropping charges against Kofi and creating a civilian review board to oversee UPD force policy. A new demand added since the last protest calls for the liquidation of the Critical Incident Response Team, a group of regular officers equipped with assault rifles.
The crowd continued to UPD headquarters on Museum Road, taking up the right lane of Southwest 13th Street and holding back traffic as it marched down Museum Road.
Lt. Robert Wagner met the crowd there and handed out about 140 official complaint forms, which would allow protesters to express their concerns about the shooting.
Wagner said the complaints would more than likely be treated collectively because they deal with the same situation.
The complaints will be addressed formally after the release of the shooting investigation reports.
Before leaving, marchers were encouraged to call the state attorney’s office and the UF administration with their demands and to join the Justice for Kofi Facebook group or donate to the Justice for Kofi Fund.
Dave Schneider, the rally’s organizer, said he thought the protest went well but vowed not to decrease the pressure on UF until demands were met.
“We have to do this, there’s no choice,” he said. “We’ll drag the university through the mud.”