Tallahassee, FL (Leon County)— Bethel Missionary Baptist Church located in the heart of the city of Tallahassee, less than a half mile from the Leon County Courthouse and the Florida Supreme Court, is where Tallahassee Attorney Ben Crump recently raised his voice against injustice.
Black people in Tallahassee, who are members of the Democratic Party, have long adopted the habit of down ballot voting when they vote. Considering the vote for many local government seats are at the same time as the vote for the United States President, the recycling of corrupt white members of the Democratic Party continues.
Former Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, a member of the Democratic Party, who is known for his high level of arrogance and his malicious prosecutions against black people, was in office for more than 30 years before he retired. Jack Campbell, a member of the Democratic Party, worked for Willie Meggs for more than a decade, before being elected into office as 2nd Judicial Circuit State Attorney. Jack Campbell, the son of former Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell who was also a member of the Democratic Party, was the lead prosecutor on many cases where his dad’s office was the lead investigative agency.
Malicious prosecutions against black people, especially black men, means that Willie Meggs and Jack Campbell told presiding judges and attorneys—both public and private—how to proceed in court—and they complied. In at least one case, at the request of State Attorney Willie Meggs and then Chief Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, former Public Defender Nancy Daniels, manipulated payment codes for a private attorney to get paid to represent a favorable witness for the state. In at least two cases, a close friend of then Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Jack, who is a member of the Republican Party, was allowed to possess a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy badge and to work—including being assigned lead detective in a double murder investigation, provide testimony in a double murder trial, and interact with underage minors—when their friend was never an employee at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office nor a law enforcement official.
Shortly after the death of Sheriff Campbell then Governor Rick Scott appointed Mike Wood as interim sheriff. Mike Wood, who’d retired from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, has a felony record of his own.
In less than twenty years, the city of Tallahassee Police Department has been stricken with scandals. In 2013, Chief Dennis Jones resigned after scrutiny about excessive force against a woman. Dennis was replaced by Mike DeLeo. Although a complaint was filed against Tallahassee Chief of Police, Mike DeLeo, alleging discrimination against black police officers in 2015, he did not resign until 2019.
In December 2019, Tallahassee City Manager, Reese Goad, a white man, and a member of the Democratic Party, announced the new Tallahassee Police Chief as Antonio Gilliam. At the time, Tallahassee had the highest crime rate. Mr. Gilliam, a black man and a native of Tallahassee, was Assistant Police Chief in St. Petersburg, Florida. While Mr. Gilliam, looked forward to coming back to his hometown—his roots—to gain the respect of Tallahassee citizens, seemingly, Mr. Goad wanted to dictate to Mr. Gilliam versus allowing Mr. Gilliam to use his own expertise to combat crime. Mr. Gilliam turned down the position as Tallahassee Police Chief.
Whether a professional is a member of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, any time someone wants to dictate to a professional how to get a job done that that person cannot do themselves, then the professional has to wonder why they’re being told how to do their job?
Had Mr. Gilliam taken the position, he would have quickly learned that the crime within local government is what fuels the crime in Tallahassee. For the most part, the only time white people in law enforcement communicate with black people is when they want to use them as witnesses to lie in criminal cases. Witnesses are then compensated with money or low wage jobs. On Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jack Campbell’s list of people that he protected, compensated and released is a black man who was also an inmate in the Leon County Jail. This inmate had 4 pending Leon County Court cases including 2 bank robberies. The man had been charged with home invasion robbery, 4 counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery causing bodily harm with a deadly weapon, burglary, forgery with dealing stolen property, 2 counts of grand theft, and many more charges. No strategy Mr. Gilliam learned over the decades in St. Petersburg could have stopped the high crime in Tallahassee’s local government.
In November 2012, the City of Tallahassee became the first city in the nation to pass an Anti-Corruption Act. The citizens in Tallahassee voted overwhelmingly to get money out of their political system.
In 2016, while Walter McNeil, a black man and a Democrat, was campaigning to win the primary election for Leon County Sheriff against his opponent, Mike Wood, a white man and a Democrat, it was reported that Mr. Wood’s campaign donations had reached six figures. The income for the vast majority of blacks in Leon County is less than $30,000 annually. Although Mr. McNeil went on to win the election, he cannot control what goes on with State Attorney Jack Campbell and all of his cronies.
Mr. Gilliam is blessed to be able to continue on with his career in law enforcement in St. Petersburg, where he is well-loved and where the weather is much better.
Mr. Goad’s hiring of Lawrence Revell, a white man, who has been with the City of Tallahassee Police Department for more than 28 years is in his comfort zone as he approaches retirement eligibility. Surely, Chief Revell is aware of what type of people he is working for all around him—on all levels of government. Crime remains high in Tallahassee.
A black man named Henry Segura sat in the Leon County Jail for nearly a decade after former State Attorney Willie Meggs and Jack Campbell charged him with 4 counts of 1st degree murder. The case against Mr. Segura was not there.
Before Mr. Segura’s case, there was the double murder case against 17-year-old, DeShon Thomas. Mr. Thomas sat in the Leon County Jail for 4 years before going to trial. State Attorney Jack Campbell severely struggled to gain evidence to support charges in both Mr. Thomas and Mr. Segura’s case. State Attorney Jack Campbell stated the cause for the murders in both cases was to avoid paying child support. Both Mr. Thomas and Mr. Segura testified during their trials. Each of them had a vast amount of favorable evidence to support their innocence. Though Mr. Thomas and Mr. Segura were found guilty, each continue to maintain their innocence along with their family members and supporters.
After the tragic shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Kia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio by a police officer, Columbus’ Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke, “How did we get here? This is a failure on the part of our community. Some are guilty but all of us are responsible.”
Democrats or Republicans—some officials in local government in the City of Tallahassee and Leon County, and other agencies have failed their community, and are responsible for the communities failures. Crime remains high in Tallahassee.
#FREEDESHONTHOMASNOW #FREEHENRYSEGURANOW #RIPMAKIABRYANT