State Attorney Melissa Nelson promised to approve police shooting videos' release within 30 days. So why is the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office taking months?

Support The Tributary

Despite a lauded policy announced last fall that outlined steps the state would take to hasten the release of body-worn camera footage following police shootings, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has failed to follow through in most cases since then.

The Sheriff’s Office now says the promise to complete assessments of the footage and approve its release within weeks of shootings was one only the Jacksonville State Attorney’s Office had made — and that the Sheriff’s Office still has no exact deadline to meet.

Even after prosecutors tell the Sheriff’s Office it can release the videos, the Sheriff’s Office waits before doing so.

The public has received video in only two of the 10 Jacksonville police shootings since the September policy, and only one within 30 days as originally guaranteed.

In five of those 10 shootings, the Sheriff’s Office has yet to make a decision regarding the release of the body cams, instead marking them as “pending” on their online “officer-involved shooting” database.

Fifteen more police shootings from before the policy was announced stretching back as early as June 2019 are also still marked as pending. 

“I’ve reviewed these statistics regarding the release of bodycam footage of police-involved shootings, and I must tell you that I am, in fact, appalled,” said Ben Frazier, president of the Northside Coalition, who was involved in discussions leading up to the new policy. 

State Attorney Melissa Nelson received praise last September when she announced the updated protocol, which she said would lead to faster disclosures of bodycam videos of police shootings. The announcement came after protests from community groups demanding increased transparency and quicker turnarounds from the agencies in custody of the recordings. 

Under the new policy, state prosecutors get the footage within 48 hours of the shooting, and within 30 days conduct a review to determine whether releasing it would interfere with investigations. If given the thumbs-up, Nelson said, the Sheriff’s Office was supposed to immediately then turn the footage over to the public.

Change in tone

At the time, when Nelson faced reporters’ questions about what would happen if the Sheriff’s Office didn’t release the footage, she said that “the sheriff has committed that he is going to make this record public upon our notification as to whether we have an objection.”

Sheriff Mike Williams also struck a different tone back then, telling News4Jax his office would release footage after getting prosecutors’ approval. “We are in total agreement of the policy,” he said at the time.

Before, the State Attorney's Office originally held off on an officer's bodycam video release until all of its investigation into the shooting had ended. Then everything in its file, including footage, became public. Those investigations took many months, or years in some cases, during which time the public and families of victims remained in the dark, as was the case in the killing of 22-year-old Jamee Johnson by Officer Josue Garriga during a traffic stop in December 2019.

Frazier called Nelson’s September announcement “a big step in the right direction,” The Florida Times-Union reported at the time.

However, the new policy has failed to produce the change advocates hoped — and demanded — to see. 

The Sheriff’s Office has released videos from two of six police shootings tracked by the department since the beginning of 2021. The office posted footage from the March 30 shooting of Michael Leon Hughes less than a month afterward. Bodycam video from the Feb. 21 shooting of Daniel Neal was released around four months after the incident. Three others, including a shooting from early March and two from May, are still pending.

Footage in 10 of 2020’s 16 police shootings are still pending; the Sheriff’s Office determined in another five from that year that there is no video available to release. Only two police shootings from last year have seen any bodycam video released to the public: the shooting of John Robert Ritter on Feb. 22, 2020, and the killing of Axel Perez on July 4, 2020. But both videos were only released in June of 2021, nine months following the announcement of the new policy.

The Sheriff’s Office still has not made a determination on bodycam footage in six of 11 shootings from 2019 — bringing the total pending the agency’s decision to 21.

Neither the State Attorney’s Office nor the Sheriff’s Office explained the delay.

Prosecutors redirect questions to JSO  

In an email to The Tributary last Tuesday, State Attorney’s Office spokesman David Chapman said prosecutors had successfully received, assessed and made a determination on all bodycam footage of police shootings since September within the 30-day review period. 

“Our office notifies the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office when it is determined the release of the body-worn camera footage will not adversely impact our investigation — per our policy, this happens within 30 days, but to date we have done so sooner,” Chapman wrote.

Chapman also said the prosecutors office only counts eight police shootings since Sept. 1 of last year, while the Sheriff’s Office counts 10 on its online database.

The Sheriff’s Office online database includes police shootings even if no one got hit by a bullet, while the State Attorney’s Office policy only covers shootings where an officer actually shot someone.

The Sheriff’s Office database, however, can be misleading on that front. For example, it lists Luis Alberto Ceballos Rodriguez as the sole victim of a March 8 police shooting, and it notes he wasn’t actually hit by a bullet. However, three people were shot at by police and one, Andre Williams, was hit and taken to the hospital, according to his arrest report.

The State Attorney's Office said that it has advised the Sheriff's Office on the ability to release footage within eight days, on average.

“If there is/was a delay in the release of BWC by JSO that question would need to be directed to them,” wrote Cindy Cribbs, executive assistant to the state attorney, in another email obtained by The Tributary. “At this time the policy seems to be working as it was intended.”

Infinite delays are ‘legally dubious’

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office said that recordings would be made public only when both agencies had reviewed and made a determination, something the office had apparently yet to accomplish in most shootings.

However, according to the office, the 30-day deadline to do so set forth last fall applies only to the state attorney, contradicting what Nelson had assured the community in September.

“There are no set parameters as to when the BWC footage is/may be released. Once deemed as not ‘active criminal’ by both the State Attorney’s Office and JSO, the video becomes available for release,” wrote Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Christian Hancock last Tuesday.

Frank LoMonte, director of the University of Florida Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, compared the given explanation to a game of hot potato. 

LoMonte voiced concern over the agencies “playing the keep-away game, where they’re throwing the hot potato back and forth and saying, ‘I don’t have it. He has it.’ Public records laws are not supposed to be gamed in that way.”

And these indefinite delays, which LoMonte said are legally dubious, are also not in the department’s best interests.

“If you set a goal, you better be prepared to beat it. Thirty days is a pretty unambitious goal,” LoMonte said. “That’s how you build confidence: you under-promise and over-deliver. … If you withhold video for weeks and months, that is going to feed into the community’s skepticism.”

The State Attorney’s Office argued that ultimately, the “Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office remains the custodian of the footage to release at their discretion,” even though the State Attorney’s Office has copies of the footage and could release it on its own, as it did before the new policy went into effect.

This was not the agreement Frazier with the Northside Coalition believed he made with Nelson, Sheriff Williams and Mayor Lenny Curry back in September. Now, he said, he sees the “devil is in the details,” the wording of the new policy and the continued “pending” status of bodycam release approvals allowing the Sheriff’s Office to evade its responsibilities.

“The state attorney appears to be following through on the commitment to approve release of the footage after its investigations. However, it appears that the hold-up is at the Sheriff’s Office,” Frazier said. 

“This to me is a direct violation of the agreement that the sheriff made when he sat down and talked with the NAACP, the Northside Coalition and the Jacksonville Community Action Committee last year. He said that he would follow through on that commitment, and this review and evaluation clearly indicates that he is not living up to his word.”

When asked about Frazier’s comments, the Sheriff’s Office did not respond. Sheriff Williams’ second and final term runs through June 2023.

Contact Emily Wilder at emily.wilder@yahoo.com.

Around the web

Support our newsroom

Andrew Pantazi | Thank you to everyone who has invested in Jacksonville’s future with your monthly and annual donations to The Tributary.

This has been a busy summer for us, and we’re still working to bring you Jacksonville’s first digital-only nonprofit, nonpartisan news source later this year.

As we continue to prepare for our later launch, we're excited to begin publishing our newsletter more frequently thanks to freelance journalists like Emily Wilder, who reported today's story for us.

The best way to support our work is by sending a check to our offices at The Tributary, 112 W. Adams St., 4th Floor, Jacksonville, FL 32202. You can also donate online by visiting https://jaxtrib.org/donate/.

The other way you can support The Tributary is by taking a few minutes to fill out our survey. This survey helps us understand what news our staff needs to cover.

Support us

Correction: Lakesha Burton wants to be Jacksonville's first Black female sheriff. Five insights from her personnel file.

Plus: The Tributary's next big steps to launch

An earlier version of the newsletter had an incorrect subject line and omitted the word “female”. Of course, Nat Glover was the first Black sheriff of Jacksonville, but Lakesha Burton seeks to become the first Black female sheriff. The Tributary regrets the error.

Lakesha Burton, a 22-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, is the first candidate to announce a run to replace current Sheriff Mike Williams. If elected, Burton, a Democrat and current assistant chief at the sheriff’s office, would be the first Black woman to lead the office.

Across the country, there are few Black police chiefs or sheriffs and even fewer Black women leading law-enforcement agencies.

After the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, police departments have come under scrutiny by the public for police shootings and officers’ use of force. Burton has said the mass protests against police brutality led to her decision to run for sheriff.

She has said that being Black and a police officer could help bridge a relationship between Black people and police officers.

“I want to challenge the perception that it’s us against them,” Burton said in a statement emailed to The Tributary. “I know most people want justice and public safety. The idea that we have to choose between these is a false choice. I will prove that as Jacksonville’s next sheriff.”

The election isn’t until 2023 when Williams will have to step down because of term limits.

In her two-decade career, Burton rose through the ranks. Here are five biographical points in her life based on some public statements she’s made and her personnel file released by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office through a public records request:

  • She began her career as a patrol officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1999. Known then as Lakesha Anderson, she married her husband Gregory Burton, also a JSO officer, in 2008. He retired as a chief in 2020, and the couple has five children. In her 22-year career, she has worked in patrol, community affairs and recruiting divisions, as well as the field training unit. 

  • She is a sexual abuse survivor. At 15 years old, she said, she got pregnant so that her stepfather would stop raping her. During her high-school years, she began to use drugs and alcohol to alleviate the depression she suffered. 

  • As a teenage mom, she was shoplifting diapers and baby food for her son when an officer apprehended her. The officer, instead of booking her into jail, took her to the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville, a nonprofit afterschool program led by the Sheriff’s Office that helps youth focus on sports and extracurricular activities. In 2015, Burton became executive director for the nonprofit.

  • According to her personnel file, her bosses were happy with how she ran the nonprofit, saying she promoted its services to news organizations and maintained a high student attendance. The personnel file also included letters from crime victims who thanked Burton and some of her colleagues for responding to their calls.

  • Her employee reviews were mostly positive. Her bosses would say she met or exceeded standards during her career. But according to a October 2019 evaluation Burton and a supervisor “discussed a formal investigation involving multiple officers under her command that was managed improperly.” 

    The evaluation doesn’t give any other details regarding this incident. But Burton responded in the evaluation saying: “The alleged mismanagement stemmed from me not being aware of additional information added to the investigative packet and the Lieutenant intentionally and deceitfully withholding information and submitting an official document of the findings to (internal affairs) without my knowledge, consent or signature.”

Contact Uriel J. García at urieljgarcia@gmail.com.

This story is published through a partnership between WJCT News and The Tributary.

The Tributary, as part of its role watchdogging the coming 2023 local elections, intends to request personnel files for all candidates for Jacksonville Sheriff. We paid $222 to receive the personnel file for Lakesha Burton, the first declared candidate. The following is not intended to be a fully comprehensive profile, but some of the first insights gleaned from Burton’s personnel file. You can view the complete file here: https://tinyurl.com/LakeshaBurton

The Tributary can now accept tax-deductible donations

Andrew Pantazi |The last few weeks have been busy for us at The Tributary.

We officially filed our paperwork to incorporate, we submitted our request for tax-exempt status with the IRS, and we opened our Vystar Credit Union account.

This means we’re able to begin accepting donations. We’ll soon move off of Substack where subscriptions are not tax-deductible. We’re working to get our website and donation page launched in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

If you just absolutely can’t wait to be the first donor, then you can make a check to The Tributary.

Mail to:

The Tributary

Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

112 West Adams Street 4th Floor

Jacksonville, Florida 32202

I wanted to thank all of you who’ve helped us get to this place by subscribing on Substack. We will fully launch as an organization later this summer, debuting our first investigations on our coming website.

In the meantime, one of the best ways you can support The Tributary is by taking a few minutes and fill out this survey. This will help us understand what news we need to cover as we staff up in the coming months.

The Tributary and WJCT’s partnership

Andrew Pantazi | We always planned for The Tributary to work in close collaboration with existing media in Jacksonville, and we’re excited to announce that we were able to work on today’s insights from Burton’s personnel file with WJCT, the only other nonprofit news source in Jacksonville.

As we hire staff and prepare to launch, we intend to develop even deeper ties with WJCT and other media partners. Local news is in a crisis, but through collaboration, The Tributary and other local media have a chance to preserve the journalism that serves as a cornerstone of democracy.

If you aren’t already, consider becoming a WJCT sustainer.

The Times-Union’s recent hires

Andrew Pantazi | If you haven’t seen, The Florida Times-Union made two recent hires, opinion and engagement editor Marcia Pledger and justice reporter Katherine Lewin.

Give both of them a welcome, and if you’re on Twitter, follow their accounts as they bring more life to the Times-Union.

Since Gannett purchased the Times-Union in 2017, only one other journalist had been hired at the paper, while 40 staffers had departed, so it’s heartening to hear the Times-Union is now looking to hire four more journalists: a photographer, a growth and development reporter, a high school sports reporter and a government accountability reporter.

This is great news for Jacksonville, and I’m looking forward to seeing their work.

Lakesha Burton wants to be Jacksonville's first Black female sheriff. Five insights from her personnel file.

Plus: The Tributary's next big steps to launch

The Tributary, as part of its role watchdogging the coming 2023 local elections, intends to request personnel files for all candidates for Jacksonville Sheriff. We paid $222 to receive the personnel file for Lakesha Burton, the first declared candidate. The following is not intended to be a fully comprehensive profile, but some of the first insights gleaned from Burton’s personnel file. You can view the complete file here: https://tinyurl.com/LakeshaBurton

Lakesha Burton, a 22-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, is the first candidate to announce a run to replace current Sheriff Mike Williams. If elected, Burton, a Democrat and current assistant chief at the sheriff’s office, would be the first Black woman to lead the office.

Across the country, there are few Black police chiefs or sheriffs and even fewer Black women leading law-enforcement agencies.

After the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, police departments have come under scrutiny by the public for police shootings and officers’ use of force. Burton has said the mass protests against police brutality led to her decision to run for sheriff.

She has said that being Black and a police officer could help bridge a relationship between Black people and police officers.

“I want to challenge the perception that it’s us against them,” Burton said in a statement emailed to The Tributary. “I know most people want justice and public safety. The idea that we have to choose between these is a false choice. I will prove that as Jacksonville’s next sheriff.”

The election isn’t until 2023 when Williams will have to step down because of term limits.

In her two-decade career, Burton rose through the ranks. Here are five biographical points in her life based on some public statements she’s made and her personnel file released by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office through a public records request:

  • She began her career as a patrol officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1999. Known then as Lakesha Anderson, she married her husband Gregory Burton, also a JSO officer, in 2008. He retired as a chief in 2020, and the couple has five children. In her 22-year career, she has worked in patrol, community affairs and recruiting divisions, as well as the field training unit. 

  • She is a sexual abuse survivor. At 15 years old, she said, she got pregnant so that her stepfather would stop raping her. During her high-school years, she began to use drugs and alcohol to alleviate the depression she suffered. 

  • As a teenage mom, she was shoplifting diapers and baby food for her son when an officer apprehended her. The officer, instead of booking her into jail, took her to the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville, a nonprofit afterschool program led by the Sheriff’s Office that helps youth focus on sports and extracurricular activities. In 2015, Burton became executive director for the nonprofit.

  • According to her personnel file, her bosses were happy with how she ran the nonprofit, saying she promoted its services to news organizations and maintained a high student attendance. The personnel file also included letters from crime victims who thanked Burton and some of her colleagues for responding to their calls.

  • Her employee reviews were mostly positive. Her bosses would say she met or exceeded standards during her career. But according to a October 2019 evaluation Burton and a supervisor “discussed a formal investigation involving multiple officers under her command that was managed improperly.” 

    The evaluation doesn’t give any other details regarding this incident. But Burton responded in the evaluation saying: “The alleged mismanagement stemmed from me not being aware of additional information added to the investigative packet and the Lieutenant intentionally and deceitfully withholding information and submitting an official document of the findings to (internal affairs) without my knowledge, consent or signature.”

Contact Uriel J. García at urieljgarcia@gmail.com.

This story is published through a partnership between WJCT News and The Tributary.

The Tributary can now accept tax-deductible donations

Andrew Pantazi | The last few weeks have been busy for us at The Tributary.

We officially filed our paperwork to incorporate, we submitted our request for tax-exempt status with the IRS, and we opened our Vystar Credit Union account.

This means we’re able to begin accepting donations. We’ll soon move off of Substack where subscriptions are not tax-deductible. We’re working to get our website and donation page launched in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

If you just absolutely can’t wait to be the first donor, then you can make a check to The Tributary.

Mail to:

The Tributary

Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

112 West Adams Street 4th Floor

Jacksonville, Florida 32202

I wanted to thank all of you who’ve helped us get to this place by subscribing on Substack. We will fully launch as an organization later this summer, debuting our first investigations on our coming website.

In the meantime, one of the best ways you can support The Tributary is by taking a few minutes and fill out this survey. This will help us understand what news we need to cover as we staff up in the coming months.

The Tributary and WJCT’s partnership

Andrew Pantazi | We always planned for The Tributary to work in close collaboration with existing media in Jacksonville, and we’re excited to announce that we were able to work on today’s insights from Burton’s personnel file with WJCT, the only other nonprofit news source in Jacksonville.

As we hire staff and prepare to launch, we intend to develop even deeper ties with WJCT and other media partners. Local news is in a crisis, but through collaboration, The Tributary and other local media have a chance to preserve the journalism that serves as a cornerstone of democracy.

If you aren’t already, consider becoming a WJCT sustainer.

The Times-Union’s recent hires

Andrew Pantazi | If you haven’t seen, The Florida Times-Union made two recent hires, opinion and engagement editor Marcia Pledger and justice reporter Katherine Lewin.

Give both of them a welcome, and if you’re on Twitter, follow their accounts as they bring more life to the Times-Union.

Since Gannett purchased the Times-Union in 2017, only one other journalist had been hired at the paper, while 40 staffers had departed, so it’s heartening to hear the Times-Union is now looking to hire four more journalists: a photographer, a growth and development reporter, a high school sports reporter and a government accountability reporter.

This is great news for Jacksonville, and I’m looking forward to seeing their work.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is stuffing extra beds to deal with its crowded jails

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office jail population peaked at 22.5 percent over capacity in early March, a stark rise since last year's short-lived decrease at the start of the pandemic. The rise in the jail population is largely driven by defendants awaiting trial, according to data provided by the law-enforcement agency. 

Originally, Duval County’s three jails — the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, the Montgomery Correctional Center and the Community Transition Center — had a combined capacity of 3,077, and on March 2 there were 3,772 inmates, according to the Sheriff’s Office and the data. But instead of releasing non-violent pretrial inmates to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, as advocates have demanded, the sheriff’s office said this week it added extra bunks into cells to increase the capacity to 4,025.

For the past year, advocates have demanded that Sheriff Michael Williams release non-violent offenders and that police cite and release people instead of jailing them in order to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 among inmates and jail staff. 

“People want to go back to normal,” said Michael Sampson, an organizer with the advocacy group Jacksonville Community Action Committee. “And what’s normal for the Sheriff’s Office is to have overpopulated jails.”

With the latest increase of bunks in cells, it could raise the risk of inmates contracting COVID-19. Health experts have warned that people socially distance in order to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

“For a number of reasons, incarcerated people are also disproportionately likely to have underlying health conditions, putting them at greater risk of complications from COVID-19 than the general population,” according to UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project. “The most humane response to the pandemic is therefore to release as many people from custody as possible and push for better health and safety practices for those who remain incarcerated.”

The overpopulation comes a year after the State Attorney’s Office had issued a memo calling for the reduction of the Duval County jail population by releasing people serving sentences on misdemeanors, releasing some people without bail and those awaiting trial.

David Chapman, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, said in a statement that the prosecutor’s office efforts have led to a reduction in the non-violent jail population in the past year and it will continue to work with the courts and the public defender’s office “to review appropriate cases.”

“For violent offenders, or those offenders who represent a danger to the community or a flight risk, we will continue to seek their detention,” he said. “While the jail population has increased due to retention of violent offenders and those defendants who did not fall under our review guidelines, we anticipate with the resumption of jury trials that there will be an increased resolution of these cases.”

The sheriff’s office said it is taking the pandemic seriously but as far as releasing inmates to reduce the spread of the virus, a spokesperson said it is up to the courts to decide that. He added that inmates are being tested, masked and vaccinated, too.

“Keeping the virus at bay and the safety of the inmates has been a concern and a priority since the onset of COVID-19,” said police officer Christian Hancock, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Advocates however say the sheriff and prosecutor’s office is not doing enough.

“Their plan is not working,” said Ben Frazier, a leader with the advocacy group Northside Coalition. “That, or their plan is faulty or their commitment is faulty.”

Frazier echoed Sampson’s comments, saying that people should scrutinize the Sheriff’s Office about the overcapacity because of the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“It’s a definite health risk,” he said.

He added that the general public should be concerned about this because it is also affecting people who are not in jail, such as jail staff and their family members.

Frazier said the sheriff, the state attorney and the courts need to work together to release non-violent inmates, people who have fewer than 90 days left in their sentences and people who are behind bars only because they can’t afford bail. 

He added that probation officers need to stop recommending people to jail over “technical violations” such as failing to pay a fine, loss of employment or missed curfew.

“It is wrong to subject people who have not been adjudicated as guilty to this kind of liability,” he said. “They are doing a very poor job.”

Contact Uriel J. García at urieljgarcia@gmail.com.

Share

Tributary Updates

Today’s story was written by Uriel J. García, who until recently covered police in Phoenix at the Arizona Republic. Uriel is freelancing for us thanks to funding we’ve gotten from the Local Media Foundation.

We’re also excited to share that we’ve faxed our paperwork to file for nonprofit status with the state of Florida, and next week we’ll file with the IRS for our 501c3 exemption.

I continue to be blown away by the support we’re getting across the community, and I’m looking forward to having a full launch later this year so we can hire full-time staff and provide regular investigative reporting about undercovered issues in our community.

Your funding continues to help us prepare for our launch, and it’s helped pay for public records that will be vital in holding institutions accountable.

Get 20% off forever

Florida's current COVID-19 surge is driven by younger residents

Florida is in the beginning stages of what appears to be a third wave of COVID-19 cases, but unlike the past two surges, this one is driven entirely by younger residents, with the older population more heavily vaccinated and protected from the virus.

The surge in viruses is entirely coming from those 55 and younger, particularly those 0-18 and 26-35.

Until Monday, both groups were restricted from getting a coronavirus vaccine in Florida unless they qualified because of their job or a health condition. Now, all Floridians who are 16 or older can get the vaccine. It has not yet been approved for younger children.

On the first day of eligibility, more than 1 percent of those 64 and younger, both in Duval and statewide, were vaccinated, the first time that happened so far.

Duval is one of the youngest counties in the state, so it’s especially important here to monitor this week and see how much progress we make in getting our younger population vaccinated, particularly among groups like white evangelicals and Black residents who have expressed a greater sense of vaccine hesitancy in public polling.

Obviously, the vaccines are effective. That’s what data have consistently shown. Still, it’s kind of shocking to see the effect vaccines have had on reducing the number of cases for those who are 65 or older in Florida.

The virus has also gotten less deadly. While there’s usually about a month delay between new COVID cases and COVID deaths, we see that as of a month ago, about 1 in 430 people infected were dying, compared to one in 70 in December and January.

Duval is lagging the state as a whole in the total percent of the population vaccinated, but that’s still largely attributable to how young our population is. In fact, if you account for how young we are, we are more vaccinated than you’d expect.

Tributary Updates

The Tributary is continuing to meet with potential funders, and we’re working with Newspack to build our website.

The goal is to launch later this year in August/September with a staff of reporters. Your donations through Substack are helping us keep going while we build out the business.

The donations continue to help us pay for public records as we prepare for some of our investigative stories that will launch later this year.

In case you missed it …

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Lakesha Burton, whose campaign has been whispered and gossiped about for months now, officially launched her 2023 campaign for sheriff.

Burton, a Democrat, is the first to announce her campaign for sheriff in what is bound to be a competitive race to succeed term-limited Sheriff Mike Williams. Burton is seeking to be the first woman elected as Jacksonville’s sheriff. She currently serves s the head of the Police Athletic League and a zone commander, and she has been the face of the Sheriff’s Office’s community-engagement initiatives in recent years. Her husband was also an assistant chief before he retired.

In 2015, she supported the police union-endorsed candidate, Jimmy Holderfield.

So far, she has not announced any policy platforms or explain how she would operate the office differently from Williams or Sheriff Rutherford before him.

Loading more posts…