JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A day after Jacksonville city council member Reggie Gaffney apologized at city council for a traffic stop that escalated into allegations of racial profiling last week, Gaffney was meeting with his constituents regarding flooding from Hurricane Irma.
He attended a neighborhood meeting at Oceanway Manor Wednesday to assess the area's flooding issues, as well as hear from residents about issues in the community.
"Trees are in the middle of the road. You have to move out in the middle of the road," one resident said.
Gaffney brought along an employee from Public Works and introduced him to residents in hopes to help with the area's problems. He also took the time to tour of the area and see the floodwaters that are left, all with the hope of moving forward from the controversial traffic stop.
"I hope that I can move beyond this and start taking care of people's needs right now," Gaffney said.
Last week, Gaffney was pulled over. He had reported his license plate stolen and an officer noticed the license plate on his car, which resulted in the traffic stop. Gaffney denied ever reporting his license plate being stolen, despite being shown the report he filed from March of 2016.
It has left many in the community, including the Fraternal Order of Police, to ask if Gaffney falsified that report to get out of the red-light tickets.
Councilman Reggie Gaffney spoke with First Coast News Wednesday and denied making a false report and denied getting red-light tickets.
“If anyone can find one red light ticket I was trying to get out of, I’ll buy them a steak dinner or make a donation to their church,” Gaffney said. “I said that my tag was stolen, and at some point I was told that I got one of those sun pass tickets, not red light tickets.”
We asked him if he has seen the report that contradicts his statement and he said he did have a copy.
“I just reported it because it was missing on my car," he said. "I didn’t think anything of it. I don’t understand the problem at this time."
Gaffney said he felt scared and under pressure when officers pulled him over last week.
“Being afraid makes you not able to comprehend what’s really going on,” he said.
He said the officers did nothing wrong, but never explained how his license plate got back on his car after reporting that it was allegedly stolen.
“All I did was report my tag stolen, that’s all that’s what happened." he said.
Gaffney said he “listened to God” Tuesday night and that’s why he apologized. He does not criticize City Council Member Katrina Brown for not apologizing to police after she pulled over and accused the officers of racial profiling during the traffic stop. Gaffney said he respects her judgment.
He said he is now his focus is on helping his constituents and in his words, show them he is still a leader.
Regarding the flooding issues in Oceanway Manor, the City responded:
"The unprecedented flooding experienced in Oceanway Manor (Moby Dick Dr. South, West, and Blue Whale Way) was not a result of the wall. It was a result of the area receiving rainfall amounts equal to or greater than the 100-year storm. There is a limit to how much rain our drainage systems can adequately handle, and the volume of rain produced by Hurricane Irma far exceeded those limits. The systems were overwhelmed and did not have the capacity to drain the runoff throughout the duration of the storm, and immediately following."