Jacksonville Sheriff: Trump’s Comments On Use Of Force Could ‘Negatively Impact’ Police Relations

Aug 3, 2017
Originally published on August 2, 2017 4:44 pm

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams is responding to comments made by President Donald Trump that some police departments, including Gainesville’s, have denounced for endorsing police brutality.

Williams, who heads a department that’s faced high-profile controversies over use of force, said the president may have been joking when he said in a New York speech Friday that police shouldn’t be “so nice” to suspects.

But he added such statements — even when made in jest — can undermine the relationship between police and the communities they serve.

“I encourage people to look to look locally at what we do here, and I think our actions speak much louder than any comment made out of anybody in D.C,” he said.

Williams also reiterated his support for State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s formal tracking of problematic officers by using what’s called a Brady list.

“That’s really a decision for the prosecutor. Those are things they need to know, that’s information they need to have to be able to do their jobs — to prosecute a case effectively.

We’re working together on that,” he said. “Whatever is the outcome on that, I support that.”

Williams also said his department is testing body cameras in an attempt to introduce more transparency and accountability to daily policing.

Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @RyanMichaelBenk.

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