When the NAACP released its travel advisory for Florida, saying the state “has become hostile to Black Americans,” Governor Ron DeSantis called it “a joke.” Three months later, a racist gunman kills three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, proving that the NAACP’s advisory was far from a laughing matter.
A federal hate crime investigation is ongoing after 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter shot and killed Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29, while they were shopping at Dollar General.
Jacksonville County Sheriff T.K. Waters described the shooter as a white supremacist, according to NBC News.
“There’s no question” the killings were racially motivated, Sheriff Waters told CNN. “He hated Blacks, and I think he hated just about everyone that wasn’t White, he made that very clear.”
The gunman was allegedly armed with an AR-15 with swastikas drawn on it as well as a handgun, which were both purchased legally. After taking the lives of three innocent Black people, he reportedly killed himself following the shooting.
The suspect also stopped at an HBCU before heading to Dollar General. According to reports, Palmeter stopped at Edward Waters University in New Town but was chased away by campus security.
Dollar General issued a statement after the senseless violence.
“We are heartbroken by the senseless act of violence that occurred at our Kings Road store in Jacksonville, Florida today,” the statement said. “At this time, supporting our Jacksonville employees and the DG family impacted by this tragedy is a top priority as we work closely with law enforcement.”
In May, the NAACP issued a travel warning for the state of Florida in direct response to policies pushed by state lawmakers.
“Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color,” the advisory read.
NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson also expressed a similar sentiment.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon,” said Johnson. “He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We’re not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis vehemently pushed back, calling the NAACP advisory a “joke.”
“What a joke – what a joke. Yeah, we’ll see how effective that is,” DeSantis said at a press conference following the release of the advisory.
He also downplayed the threat, calling it a political stunt.
“It’s a pure stunt,” he said. “And fine, if you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine. Look, I – I’m not wasting my time on your stunts, OK? I’m going to make sure that we’re getting things done here and we’re going to continue to make this state a great state.”
After the shooting, Ron DeSantis tried to change his tune on Black affairs, pledging $1 million to increase security at Edward Waters University.
“We are not going to allow our (historically Black colleges and universities) to be targeted by these people,” DeSantis said while speaking at the vigil for the three innocent people lost.
But when the Republican candidate for president was announced and brought to the podium, he was booed and heckled by members of the community who were not happy with the Governor.
“You’re not welcome here,” one person shouted. Another person screamed, “Your policies caused this,” as the governor was trying to finish his speech.
Hey Ron DeSantis, next time the NAACP issues a warning to Black people, instead of calling it a “joke,” take them seriously.
The post No ‘Joke’: Jacksonville Racist Shooting Spotlights How DeSantis Downplayed NAACP Travel Advisory appeared first on NewsOne.
No ‘Joke’: Jacksonville Racist Shooting Spotlights How DeSantis Downplayed NAACP Travel Advisory was originally published on newsone.com
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