Hundreds in Orlando Protest Don’t Say Gay Bill

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Orlando to denounce the Don’t Say Gay bill, which would prohibit the discussion of LGBT+ issues in classrooms across Florida. The bill recently passed through the House, without an amendment that would have forced schools to out students to their families in 6 weeks or less.

Appeals Court Sides With Tamarac Police Officer in 2019 Brutal Beating of 15-Year-Old Boy

Tamarac police officer Gregory Lacella brutally assaulted 15-year-old Delucca Rolle in 2019 at a shopping plaza. An appeals court agreed with Officer Lacella’s Stand Your Ground claim on Thursday, eliminating charges of battery placed against him.

In a video recorded by a bystander, Officer Lacella and another deputy can be seen pepper-spraying Rolle before throwing him to the ground, banging his head against the pavement, and punching him in the head several times. 

Delucca Role, the victim of Lacella’s assault, was charged with assault on a police officer, and, upon inquiry by local news channels, was found to have a clean criminal record. The charges were later dropped.

During the investigation, Lacella claimed he feared for his life and used the Stand Your Ground claim in court to defend his brutal attack on 15-year-old Rolle. A Florida appeals court agreed with the argument, ruling that Rolle’s aggressive behavior justified Lacerra’s response.

Courts Overturn Conviction of North Miami Cop Who Shot Autistic Man’s Caretaker

In 2016, North Miami police officer Jonathon Aledda shot unarmed Charles Kinsey, the behavioral therapist of Arnaldo Rios Soto, an autistic man who lived at a nearby group home residence. On Wednesday, a state appeals court overturned his conviction in the case.

Police, arriving on the scene, found Soto holding a toy truck that Officer Aledda claimed to look like a weapon. Officials claim the responding officers believed Soto was holding Kinsey hostage, despite Kinsey getting on the ground with his hands up and begging them not to shoot.

A recording shows Kinsey begging officers not to fire, making it clear that Soto was holding a toy truck. Officer Aledda then opened fire, shooting Kinsey in the leg. Kinsey later asked the police why they shot him, receiving an alleged response of “I don’t know.”

The definition of attempted voluntary manslaughter is where the defendant committed, obtained, or was negligently culpable in an act that would have killed the victim but someone stopped the death or the defendant’s actions failed to kill the victim. 

Despite the hard proof that Officer Aledda shot Charles Kinsey, the original jury acquitted him of all charges other than misdemeanor culpable negligence. 

100 St. Petersburg Protesters Gather at City Hall Demanding Rent Control

Over 100 protesters gathered outside the St. Petersburg City Hall to demand rent control amid one of the worst housing crises in American history, of which St. Petersburg and other Florida cities are epicenters. 

Many organizations, including Tampa Bay Party for Socialism and Liberation, St. Petersburg People’s Council, and the Allendale Methodist Church spoke at the event, condemning the city government for refusing to acknowledge the struggles of the people outside its doors.

Members of the St. Petersburg People’s Council voted to escalate if the city doesn’t take action, gathering signatures from residents willing to set up an encampment at the city hall. Despite the risk of arrest, many signed up, holding the belief that incarceration is a lesser burden than excessive rent.

Media via St. Petersburg Tenants’ Union

60 protesters gather north of Tampa demanding release of Leonard Peltier

Around 60 protesters assembled to demand the release of indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier at the Coleman Federal Correctional Institute, an hour’s drive north of Tampa. Peltier, now 77 years old, has been infected with COVID-19 for more than a week and has been denied parole and release.

Leonard Peltier was an activist for the American Indian Movement, who has been incarcerated for over 44 years in what is internationally considered one of the most corrupt trials in American history. Peltier was accused of shooting and killing 2 FBI agents at point-blank range, but a prosecutor conceded that the government does not know who shot the agents.

Regardless, it was asserted that he is equally guilty whether he shot the agents at point-blank range, or participated in the shoot-out from a distance. Peltier’s co-defendants participated in the shootout from a distance but were nonetheless acquitted.

An FBI ballistics expert testified that a casing found near the agents’ bodies matched the gun tied to Peltier. A previous ballistic test proving that the casing had not come from Peltier’s gun, however, was intentionally concealed.

One of the prosecutors in the case later admitted that the trial was a sham, calling for the release of Peltier. The AIM activist’s incarceration continues in spite of ever-growing evidence suggesting he was framed.

Photos via PSL Tampa Bay