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Image: Photo by Kayla L. Smith, Justice for George protest, downtown Orlando 2020, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Orlando Police Department’s use of Tear Gas


Florida, like the rest of the country, is currently in the grip of twin exigencies: the pandemic and the protest movement. But as demonstrators assemble, risking their health to call for necessary changes in our nation’s law enforcement, police are using tear gas and pepper spray to dispel them — an incredibly dangerous decision in the middle of a respiratory disease epidemic. Orlando police deployed tear gas on large crowds twice last week. OPD Chief Orlando Rolón says this was because protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers, and he promises there will be a use-of-force review. Tear gas is banned in international warfare, yet it is classified as a “riot control agent” that law enforcement can use for crowd …
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Image: Orlando Weekly Cover Art, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

Under Orlando’s real-time surveillance partnership with Amazon, everyone’s a suspect


Orlando Police Chief John Mina doesn’t see a privacy issue in Orlando’s partnership with Amazon for their real-time surveillance technology. Using the city’s extensive camera system, Amazon’s Rekognition program will scan people’s faces as it looks for a person of interest when it becomes fully operational. Mina says it’s similar to officers using their eyes to scan a crowd. But Clare Garvie, with the Center on Privacy & Technology, says Orlando’s use of Rekognition is actually more like police asking everyone in a crowd for individual IDs to make sure they aren’t a suspect. With little scrutiny, Orlando leaders have been experimenting for months with this powerful new technology, which they hope will help them catch criminals, find missing children …
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Image: Max Gracia’s funeral, courtesy of Willine Gracia, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

Max Gracia died in Orange County jail after being bitten by a police dog. His family wants answers.


The last time Willine Gracia saw her son alive was at the beginning of August 2015. The mother says she took 22-year-old Max Gracia to the courthouse to get his passport because he was soon leaving for airline training. Days later, on Aug. 6, Max Gracia would be arrested by Orlando Police officers who accused him of robbing a convenience store with a gun. Gracia tried to escape by hiding in Lake Mann, but officers sent in a K9 after him. The police dog bit him multiple times before he was captured and taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment and then the Orange County Jail. Four days after his arrest, detectives told Willine her son was dead, killed …
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