FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 24, 2020
CONTACT: ROBIN D. HARRIS
FLORIDA NOW RACIAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE
Orlando, Fl—-On August 7, 2020, 22 year old Salaythis Melvin, a young black man, was executed by an Orange County Deputy. The officer claimed he feared Melvin was reaching for a gun. However, Melvin was shot in the back while running away. Video frame-by-frame shows the young man running and posing no threat. Around 39 seconds into the video footage that has been released to the public, Melvin can be seen running full speed across the parking lot, and then he is seen shot in the back. Immediately, he falls to the ground with one hand up, and then he stretches out flat on the ground. Four deputies stand over him with guns drawn shouting and cursing at him to keep his hands up. At least 2 to 3 minutes pass before he is rendered any sort of aid. Even though a pulse was found by one of the deputies, the other deputy opposed providing further aid to Mr. Melvin.
The murderous officer has been identified as James Montiel. Montiel’s bodycam was not on. The video footage captured was from another deputy’s camera. Since the deadly shooting, Montiel is on administrative leave with pay.
Kenosha, WI—-Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot in the back seven times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin late Sunday evening on August 23, 2020. Video was captured and shared to social media. It shows two officers following him with guns drawn as he walks away to get inside of his car. As Blake tries to enter the vehicle, one of the officers grabs him by the shirt and unloads at least several shots into his body. This all takes place while Blake’s children are in the vehicle witnessing the tragic event. Police were called to the address due to a domestic disturbance. Witnesses say that Mr. Blake was endeavoring to break that fight up upon the officers arrival.
The Florida NOW Racial Justice Task Force stands in solidarity with the victims, their families, friends, and the protesters who are demanding answers, and the immediate firing of officers in both shootings. We find both incidents to be a complete disregard for black lives and black communities.
We therefore demand the immediate termination of the officers who failed to Protect and Serve the citizens of these communities. Both incidents have perpetuated trauma and despair in the Black Community. We also demand the immediate withdrawal of all domestic military occupation. We stand by efforts to defund and/or abolish policing systems that no longer serve to protect. We support every effort of self-determination in marginalized communities that provide citizens the power to define the role of the police so that law enforcement no longer functions as an agency that continues to commit genocidal behavior.