Council member apologizes, another member refuses after clash with Fraternal Order of Police

The stop led to allegations of racial profiling.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two Jacksonville council members made public statements Tuesday following a run-in with JSO officers last week. 

The Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona demanded apologies or resignations from council members Reginald Gaffney and Katrina Brown on Monday for actions Zona called "an abuse of power."

Body camera footage shown to a local media outlet showed Gaffney being stopped by police for an issue with his license plate. Brown from a separate car accuses the officers of racially profiling Gaffney. 

Police reports from the September 17 traffic incident and from March of 2016 show Gaffney's vehicle license plate had been reported stolen by Gaffney himself, after he received tickets for running red lights. 

On Tuesday, Gaffney addressed the FOP and JSO during council's regular meeting offering his sincere apologies. 

"I'm not a perfect man," Gaffney said. "I apologize for my behavior last week. I have always had the utmost respect for the men and women in uniform."

Following Gaffney's statement, Brown took the floor with strong words for FOP's president.

"I don't think I did anything wrong, so I'm not going to apologize." Brown said. "I receive attacks from FOP...because I ask questions my constituents want me to ask. I'm responsible for the constituents I represent."

Brown also referenced past conflicts with Zona over her involvement in creating a citizens review board for JSO. She also questioned whether her rights were violated in the leaking of video that she believes should have first been under investigation. 

"I never got out of my car, the [police officer] came up to me," Brown said. "The only thing I did was state my observation as a witness, I did not use my authority as a council member, I never even said I was a councilperson."

Following Brown and Gaffney's statements, Zona said he accepted Gaffney's apology and hoped all police officers accepted it as well. He disputed Brown's claims about FOP attacks on her agenda and said he plans to release his digital communications with Brown to the media as proof. 

 

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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