Categorized | Local News

Lakeland Residents Protesting Beating, Tasing Of 16-Year-Old

     About 100 people gathered outside Lakeland Police headquarters on Saturday to protest the beating of 16-year-old Jahmal Hudson. | Kimberly C. Moore, LkldNow


About 100 protestors gathered in front of Lakeland Police Department headquarters Saturday evening to demand that two officers seen punching and tasing a Black teenager in a widely shared bystander video be arrested and that Police Chief Sam Taylor resign.

      The speakers were angry that two Lakeland Police officers — Christopher McKee and Jose Diaz-Acosta — repeatedly punched, pulled the hair of and tased 16-year-old Jahmal Hudson during a videotaped arrest. The video also shows Hudson fighting back against the officers.

     According to published reports, the incident began when Hudson and three friends met a resident of The Caroline Apartments to swim in the complex’s pool on Memorial Day. One of the teens posted to social media that they had been playing volleyball and relaxing, but also admittedly using profanity in the pool.

     According to the report, a woman arrived with her children and asked the group to tone down their language.  Chief Taylor said the teens cursed at her, so she called 9-1-1. The arrest affidavit says an apartment manager asked arriving officers to trespass the teens from the pool.

     McKee wrote in the affidavit that Hudson repeatedly refused to cooperate, would not give his name or address and said he didn’t have to talk to McKee.

      A social media post said the 6-foot-1, 347-pound teenager was gathering his belongings, but became angry and defiant when McKeetold him he should go to the gym instead of the pool.

     The incident escalated when McKee, who had repeatedly told Hudson to leave, moved to arrest him.

     State Rep. Dianne Hart, D-Tampa, attended Saturday’s protest and vowed to make sure police are held accountable.

     Rev. Clayton Cowart of the Poor And Minority Justice Association, and Carlos Sotos of Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk organized Saturday’s event. The men have fought for the Civil Rights of several local Black men and women who have been arrested.

      The protesters plan to come back the first Saturday of every month to protest the Lakeland Police Department, saying the department is full of racists.

      NAACP Lakeland Branch President Terry Coney told LkldNow on Thursday that he had already been in talks with Lakeland Police about hosting an event to teach area teenagers how to interact with police. Coney did not attend the protest.

     Hudson’s mother, Ja’Tae Lewis, was pleased with the support her son received.

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