Police handling of Cascades Park altercation
The Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) was alerted about an alleged altercation on June 25, around 12 am, at Cascades Park. The observer, who would like to remain anonymous, witnessed a fight between black teenagers near the park restrooms. Local security broke up the fight, and the Tallahassee Police Department(TPD) was called. Police parked by the Department of Transportation with around 3 -5 cars, while other officers parked at the opposite end of Cascades.
TPD then allegedly proceeded to close the park and demand everyone leave forcibly, despite some teenagers being unable to find their phones or contact their parents. The observer was personally confronted by an officer who threatened to arrest them if they saw them return to the park. TPD’s handling of the situation clearly shows how police escalation and force are often unnecessary in resolving interpersonal issues and problems.
Police officers are trained to treat black youth as inherently suspicious and often respond with greater violence and resources when confronted with them. TPD’s funding and training is more like that of a paramilitary force than an organization that defends “law and order.” Despite claims of “community policing” by the City of Tallahassee, handling this situation makes it clear that TPD isn’t deft enough to break up a fight between teenagers.
The currently inactive Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) in Tallahassee, AS WELL AS the recent killing of Asia Fitzgerald, are prime examples of how the Tallahassee Police Department ignores calls for accountability and change, instead focusing its energy and AMPLE resources on inconsequential and counterproductive efforts.
As an organization agitating for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), we will continue fighting to restore the CPRB and create a CPAC in Tallahassee. Funding for the police should be redirected to organizations capable of handling situations like the one at Cascades Park non-violently, without criminalizing black youth.