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Activists Say OPD Review Board Decision to Charge Officer is Long Overdue

Photo: Screenshot taken of cell phone video.
Photo: Screenshot taken of cell phone video.

Community activists are calling for an overhaul of the Orlando Police Department’s internal review system. That's after an independent review board recommended this week that an officer be charged in an assault on a homeless man. The board's decision went against the original recommendation of the department, which said Officer James Wilson was justified in his interaction with Terre Johnson last year in Parramore. The incident was captured on Wilson's body camera.

“You have an internal problem with the Orlando Police Department," says community activist and long-time Parramore resident, Lawanna Gelzer. "And it’s not everybody, but it’s a behavior that’s been allowed to fester for many, many years.”

Gelzer says the decision is long overdue. She and others put pressure on the department for its review.

“The community is beginning to say ‘Enough is enough.” You cannot police by fear and intimidation and by zip code. You just cannot do it anymore."