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Collier County protest calls for defunding sheriff's office

Posted at 9:09 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 21:09:54-04

NAPLES — Dozens of people showed up to the Collier County Commission meeting Tuesday to call for the sheriff’s department to be defunded.

They signed up to speak, and held a protest outside the government building.

Funding for the sheriff’s department wasn’t even on the agenda for commissioners, but protesters with Black Lives Matter said they wanted to make a point that the protests in Naples last month weren’t the end of their activism.

“A lot of money goes to the police, and we hope that, if we can kind of spread the wealth toward different areas, it could help things in a social manner, like society in general," said Jameson Ciprius, one of the organizers of the protest.

Those same feelings were shared by dozens of others at the demonstration.

“Reallocating towards resources such as mental health, social services, homelessness, healthcare, things like that, we could see it improve. We could see an improvement in our community as a whole," said Olivia Wylie, who attended the protest.

But not everyone was on board.

“You can’t defund the police. You have to support our police," said Mike Randall.

Randall said he was with the Fallen Officers Foundation, and came out specifically to counter what the protesters were saying.

“This county is not going to put up with it. They are strong against that. They are for law enforcement, and we want to let them know, that’s not going to change," said Randall.

A lot of the people at the protest Tuesday were the same people who marched in Naples after the death of George Floyd.

“I thought that was a great way to just start demonstrating. I feel like it was a start. I don’t feel like it was an end all be all for sure, but definitely it was a great start," said Ciprius.

Because funding for the sheriff’s department was not on the agenda, those people who signed up to comment had to wait until the end of the meeting during the public comment period. About 20 of them signed up to voice their opinion, and their hope that it does get on the agenda in the future.