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Local Activists Call For Firing Of Police Chief, City Manager After Tony McDade Shooting. City Officials Promise Full Investigation, Urge Calm

Writing on vehicle’s back windshield says Outrage and Action
Gina Jordan/WFSU
Chadwick Mayer stands next to his car with various protest statements written on the windows.

A group of local organizations want Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell to be fired and other city officials to step down. This, after the third officer-involved shooting in the city this year ended with the death of a black, trans-masculine person. Tony McDade is alleged to have stabbed and killed another person before he was eventually shot and killed by a TPD officer Wednesday.

In his final Facebook Live video, McDade says he was jumped by five men a day prior and vows revenge. He also says he won’t go back to prison and alludes to a potential confrontation with police officers.

McDade recorded a video the morning the incidents took place. In it, McDade recounts being jumped by a group of men and vows revenge.

Tallahassee Community Action Committee President Regina Joseph says what McDade did in the run-up to his death shouldn’t matter and likens his death to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“It’s really important that we don’t fall into those sorts of traps and we stay on message which is getting justice for Tony McDade. Because it doesn’t matter what he did. Dylan Roof shot up an entire church, and it got him Burger King. We know they can take out white mass murderers and shooters and make sure they get them arrested. We know they can do that. There’s no excuse,” she said during a zoom press conference Monday.

Roof is the person who killed black worshippers at a South Carolina church in 2015.

In addition to calling for the firing of Revell and City Manager Reese Goad, the groups also want “an open an unbiased investigation” into what they call “the brutal murder of Tony McDade.” The groups are calling for the arrest of the police officers involved as well as the release of any body camera footage, and the dissolution of the current TPD Advisory Committee. Organizers want that group replaced by an elected council. The TCAC also wants a response from Mayor John Dailey and the mayor’s LGBTQ advisory board which group members say has been “suspiciously quiet” in the wake of the shooting.

Revell, Goad, State Attorney Jack Campbell along with local city officials and faith leaders spoke to the media during a press conference at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Monday.

“Anytime someone loses their life to violence, it’s a tragedy,” said Dailey. “I know that for many in our community, last week’s events were particularly traumatic, especially as they came on the heels of disturbing events across our nation,” he said, referencing the death of George Floyd. Along with the shooting of Tony McDade and the man he allegedly killed, Malik Jackson, there were also three additional, unrelated shootings in the city last week.

The family of Malik Jackson held a candlelight vigil to honor his life.

“I commit to each of you…that whether that blood is spilt wrongly by law enforcement, justice will be there. Just as it will be when justice is demanded of all of us in this community. The light of truth will be shown,” said Campbell who is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

He promised to “follow every lead, and tell you the truth as fast as we can.”

That’s not consoling to the TCAC’s Delilah Pierre. When asked whether she believed the city would respond to the organization’s demands, Pierre said no.

“We’re going to continue protesting at every event. We’re going to de-platform every local event and every kind of thing you try to do,” she said while addressing local officials.

“If you try to put up your foolish, fantastical notion of a citizen advisory board and try to pub that to the people, we’re going to shut that down. We’re shutting every single thing down that you do,” she said.

Revell did not directly address the calls for him to resign or be fired. Instead, he focused on trying to build better relationships between minority communities and law enforcement—something he’s been discussing since being appointed police chief.

"Those type of tough conversations have to occur. The anger and the passions that are there are real and those have to be heard,” he said. “And then action has to be taken on those because we know these are issues we can't keep kicking down the road."

A gofundme for McDade has raised more than $100,000. Another for Jackson, who was stabbed to death, has raised less than $1,000 as of midday Monday.

The Tallahassee Police Department says McDade pointed a gun as officers were responding to the scene of Jackon’s stabbing. It is not known what happened between that moment and McDade’s death. Revell has said he doesn’t know whether body camera footage exists of the confrontation, and both he and state Attorney Jack Campbell say no information will be released until a grand jury report comes out and investigations are over. TPD is not releasing the name of the officer who shot McDade, citing victim privacy rights under Marsy’s Law and the ongoing investigation.

“We’ve gotta get it right, Tallahassee, but you have to give it a chance,” said City Commissioner Diane Williams-Cox in her appeal for calm to prevail.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.
Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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