Orlando Citizens’ Police Review Board Rejects Exoneration of OPD Officer—
Orlando Citizens’ Police Review Board Rejects Exoneration of OPD Officer
[FULL VIDEO: Officer body camera footage released ]
In a total affront to the Orlando Police Department and Mayor Buddy Dyer’s administration, the Citizens’ Police Review Board voted unanimously to reject the internal affairs recommendation to exonerate Officer James Wilson for excessive force. In fact, Chair Henry Lim even said Officer Wilson should have been charged with battery for his excessive force against Terre Johnson, in his opinion. The vote is seen as unprecedented, especially considering Mayor Dyer refused to even mention excessive force or the review board in yesterday’s State of the City address.
“I’ve never seen this happen in Orlando before,” said Central Florida National Action Network President Lawanna Gelzer, who attended the meeting. “I was proud to see every member of the Citizens’ Police Review Board hold their hands up and say ‘no, we reject this.’ I was proud that someone in our local government finally responded to the reality of our community and put the citizens first.”
Wilson is of course the controversial officer who was caught on video beating Terre Johnson, a homeless resident. Johnson spoke with News 6’s Erik Sandoval in November about the brutal incident. Johnson was charged on numerous counts and sat in jail for 45 days, but a jury found Terre Johnson not guilty on January 14th.
Police Chief John Mina ordered the internal affairs investigation and Johnson says he filed a complaint on the matter as well. Normally, the Citizens’ Police Review Board follows the recommendations made to them. But this case was so egregious, the board finally pushed back against OPD.
OPD stated Officer Wilson only received an oral reprimand for the first charge against him, “Conduct Toward the Public.” The department reiterated they supported an oral reprimand, not even written and on the record, as the only punishment for Wilson. They asked the board for full exoneration of Wilson on the charge of use of excessive force but Johnson’s public defenders showed up ready to call out what happened to their client and explain the full situation to the review board.
Gelzer also questioned whether the brutal actions of Officer Wilson targeted Johnson because he is African-American, or because he is homeless, or because he is homosexual. She asked if this behavior happened because of the zip code for that part of town.
(Read More of this Post) – Written by Mike Cantone
For More Information: Lawanna Gelzer at (407) 953-5599
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Terre Johnson Speaks
ORLANDO, Fla. – The man at the center of a confrontation with Orlando police shared his side of the story with News 6. November 10, 2015
An excessive force internal investigation is underway into Officer James Wilson after cellphone video from August showed him straddling Terre Johnson in the middle of the street, hitting him in the face.
[FULL VIDEO: Officer body camera footage released ]
Terre Johnson Orland Police Department Latest Excessive Force Case
The Orlando Police Department’s latest police excessive force case happened just ONE DAY after Mayor Dyer’s “Orlando Speak” event to strengthen relationships and trust between officers and the community. Terre Johnson is a homeless man who happened to be sitting on Ossie Street one block south of Washington Street in the Parramore Community. Please understand this can happen to anyone but this week, it happened to Terre. The Orlando community is coming together to fight back! The community is saying loud and clear: we are tried of the mistreatment by SOME of Orlando’s police officers. NO MORE Policing by Zip Code and NO MORE Policing by Fear and Intimidation. August 27, 2015
“Who is Policing the Police? The community is demanding Accountability, a Zero-Tolerance Policy, Transparency and an Independent Elected Police Citizen Review Board. Now it is clear we need a change in leadership and that change must start from the top.” – Lawanna Gelzer, President of the NAN Central Florida Chapter
Pressure Building on Orlando City Council After Public Comments Focus on Excessive Force
left: Noel Carter, with his attorney Natalie Jackson; right: Orlando Police Chief John Mina
The pressure is building on Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioners to comment and respond to the latest excessive force allegations against the Orlando Police Department. Noel Carter joined his attorney Natalie Jackson as well as several community organizations and concerned citizens at City Hall this week to respond to comments from Police Chief John Mina and to respond to the use of excessive force against him while visiting downtown.
Video evidence shows Noel Carter was kicked, beaten and tased by two Orlando police officers who were moonlighting for the Venue 578, a club downtown. After a press conference outside of City Hall on Monday, many who were rallying attended the City Council meeting to testify before Mayor Dyer and City Commissioners during general public comments.
NAN Passed Events
“Orlando Police Department Excessive Force Cases Spotlighted on National Level – National Journal”
First, though, she will have to navigate the complicated national dialogue on police brutality and criminal justice, a conversation that has changed ramatically since Democrats first tapped the tough-on-crime Demings as a candidate for higher office.
The growing focus on police misconduct highlights less agreeable aspects of Demings’s time helming the Orlando Police Department from 2007 to 2011.
“This has been a problem for a while, through her administration and others. The problem is the leadership of the department,” said Lawanna Gelzer, President of the National Action Network’s Central Florida chapter. “