JACKSONVILLE — This week, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville President Ben Frazier was dragged and detained by Jacksonville Sheriff’s department officers for going over the time limit during the public comment section of a city council meeting.
The following statement is from Bacardi Jackson, interim deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center strongly condemns the medically harmful handling of Ben Frazier – a 72-year-old community activist who uses a mobility-assistance device – for simply exceeding a reduced, 1 minute, 5 seconds, public comment time limit.
“These actions are reminiscent of the civil rights movement, where peaceful, nonviolent protests were met with aggression, open hostility, and jail time at the hands of law enforcement. Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman’s order to have Mr. Frazier removed was a gross overreaction to a citizen who has been protesting the removal of the Women of the Southland monument from Springfield Park for several years.
“Apathy is NOT an option when it comes to removing relics of the Jim Crow era from public spaces. The SPLC will continue to stand with and commend the endless resolve of Ben Frazier, the Northside Coalition and all of the activists who continue to do the hard work of dismantling symbols of white supremacy in Jacksonville.”