Dear Members and Advocates,

Yesterday, a jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. It was the culmination of deliberation that lasted a couple of days, a trial that lasted a few weeks, and a prosecution that lasted almost a year. But for many out there who have been fighting for racial equality, yesterday’s verdict represented a very, very long-awaited answer to a call for justice and accountability that was decades in the making.

Despite yesterday’s verdict, George Floyd is still dead. For his family, and even the family of Derek Chauvin, there is no way to undo the tragedy of what took place and there is nothing that will bring their loved ones home tonight. If anything positive has come out of the tragedy is that all people, whether they are law enforcement or civilians, victims or offenders, have an opportunity to learn and do better. Isn’t that what we all want? To get better? We want police departments to implement better training and weed out problematic officers. We want victims to receive the support and treatment they need to heal. We also want former offenders to return to an environment that fosters successful re-entry and the possibility of becoming productive members of the community. Without that, the cycle will just continue.

Making everyone “better” will take a lot of humanity and an understanding that reactions cannot be knee-jerk or emotional, but well researched, and even incorporate some compassion. We’ve all had experience with the criminal justice system. We know there are corrections officers who are total derelicts but others who are good. We know there are some probation officers who do everything they can to ensure their probationers get locked up again, but there are also probation officers who do everything they can to help their probationer’s succeed. Similarly, we know there are bad cops out there, but we cannot look at every police officer as a racist and they cannot look at every person required to register as a recidivist.

When I think about “Operation Karma” in Polk County or “Operation Neptune” in Volusia, where over-aggressive Sheriffs round up dozens of people for petty and often unknowing technical violations, it seems eerily similar to the racially targeted treatment the protesters in Minnesota have been complaining of. I hope that in exposing over-aggressive police tactics, things will change for all marginalized populations. People won’t have guns pulled on them for a tag not visible and people will not get arrested because they missed a registration deadline by a day (yes, a couple of weeks ago, a Marion County man was arrested for showing up for registration a day late) or for eating breakfast at a Burger King too close to a tennis court (yes, that happened too). It’s all unnecessary and it all just perpetuates the cycle.

Hopefully, the Chauvin case will be a turning point for positive change. Where bad apples are exposed (think Pasco Sheriff, Chris Nocco last month) and stripped of the power they abused. Where all people can train themselves to see each other as human beings instead of a skin color, a uniform, or a label slapped on our driver’s licenses. And where we all treat each other with a level of civility that allows for the opportunity to come to the table and become “better” people.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


Reminders:

Research Studies – Voluntary Participation.

Shelley Kavanagh (Doctorial Candidate) is conducting one-on-one phone interviews with mothers of registered citizens living in Florida.  For more information about the study and how to schedule an interview, click here.

Monthly Membership Calls 

May 1 Saturday – 11:00am-1:00pm ET. Therapist-led Family Support Session via Zoom.  Limited participation. Email [email protected] or leave message at 833-273-7325 Option 1 for access to the Monthly group session.

May 6  Thursday at 8:00pm ET – Monthly Membership Call. Topic: What to Know about Buying a Home or Rental.  Guest Real Estate agent Daphne Thomas.  Phone 319-527-3487. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.

May 13 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – New Member Orientation Call – phone 319-527-3487. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.

Meet and Greets are Resuming:

Saturday April 24 in Apopka (Orange County) Doors open at noon for complimentary lunch and mingle.  Guest speaker 1-2pm is “The Travel Blogger”  Topic: Domestic Travel Planning Tips (and where to find current visitor requirements in each state).  For location, RSVP to [email protected] or text to 904-452-8322 with your name and number attending.

SEBRING MEET-and-GREET – NEW DATE and TIME – Saturday May 8 in Sebring (Highlands County) – Meet-and-Greet. Optional Smorgasbord Lunch 11:30-1:00pm  ($10 pp) followed by the local meeting from 1-2pm.   For location, RSVP to [email protected] or text to 904-452-8322 with your name and number attending.

Monday May 17 at 7pm – Palm Beach / Broward / Miami-Dade member Call.  Catch up on local issues and meet your local team. Call 319-527-3487.

Need to Talk? 

FAC has peer volunteers that are here to talk one-on-one, call 904-452-8322.  Volunteers are not available 24/7 but you will receive a call as soon as possible.  If you have an emergency, call 911, or helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or a crisis center (Listing of Crisis Centers and Hotlines)


SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK

Calling Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust’s Bluff

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Vigilante won’t fight murder charge for shooting sex offender 7 times

Raising a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle, James Fairbanks riddled Mattieo Condoluci with seven shots, bullets entering Condoluci’s back and chest. One bullet pierced Condoluci’s forehead, near his temple. All after Condoluci, a convicted sex offender, answered his door near…

“The Book” on registration laws becoming available for purchase.

Professors Wayne Logan (Florida State University School of Law) and JJ Prescott (University of Michigan School of Law) have edited the textbook on sex offense registration laws, literally. The two professors, along with other professionals; Andrew J. Harris, Scott M….

When Animus Matters and Sex Offense Underreporting Does Not: The Sex Offender Registry Regime

ACSOL Board Member Ira Ellman has published a scholarly work that claims the registry regime is motivated by animus and should be stricken.  This conclusion is based upon an analysis of four relevant U.S. Supreme Court decisions in which the Court determined what…

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