Broward leaders say protesters have been heard and discuss ways to address injustice

Commissioners talk policing and propose budgeting more money for minority employment and youth services

Broward leaders say they've heard the message sent by protesters
Broward leaders say they've heard the message sent by protesters

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County commissioners held a moment of silence for George Floyd at their meeting Tuesday morning — and then they got down to brass tacks discussing what they say is longterm structural and institutional racism that led to the protests this weekend.

They’ve discussed racial disparity training, the way law enforcement responds. They’re looking to add programs to the county budget for minority employment and youth services, even enhancing existing programs to change the arrest rate.

They framed it as a historical overhaul to address injustice, insisting everyone in the community has been affected by this outrage in one way or another.

“We need healing in our country,” Mayor Dale Holness said. “But we cannot heal unless we acknowledge where we are. And not just merely acknowledge it, but every one of us — and especially those who are in power. ... To not just talk about it. To not just join a march or to get on a Zoom call. But to be purposeful.”

Added commissioner Barbara Sharief: “We are praying for peace. We are praying for peaceful protest.”

Sheriff Gregory Tony also spoke about what his department is doing and its budget. He made a point that the population of the county jail is at an all-time low right now because of COVID-19, and he asked commissioners why they can’t do that all year long, issuing citations for minor crimes.

The discussions on the budget, and how they can make some of those plans a reality, are continuing.

Meanwhile, the county’s curfew remains in effect from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.

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