The following article by Jared Hamill is from Fight Back! News:
Gainesville, FL – There is progress in the case of Kofi Adu-Brempong, the University of Florida graduate student shot in the face by campus police after they invaded his apartment on March 2nd. Kofi is still recovering after a white policeman shot his jaw off with an assault rifle at close range. One week ago State’s Attorney Bill Cervone agreed to drop charges against Kofi, an African immigrant. Fernando Figueroa of Gainesville Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) said, “When these racist police put criminal charges on Kofi, they really added insult to injury. We are relieved the charges were dropped, but there should not have been any in the first place.”
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation showed what students and activists already knew: that some of the police lied about a knife and a pipe, there were conflicting statements between police officers, and Adu-Brempong was shot while sitting on the floor. The investigation found there was no knife and nor pipe. Furthermore Kofi suffers from a case of childhood polio. Kofi could not really defend himself even if he wanted to.
Fernando Figueroa of SDS said, “dropping the charges against Kofi Adu-Brempong is a good step towards justice on the University of Florida campus. SDS and the Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality are claiming a small victory.” SDS and the Coalition, along with members of Kofi’s family, led protest after protest over four months, finally occupying the office of Bill Cervone, the State’s Attorney, demanding the outrageous charges be dropped. The State’s Attorney offered what is called a conditional deferred prosecution, recognizing that Kofi was the victim of police brutality. State’s Attorney Cervone announced the decision just two days before a scheduled meeting with Gainesville SDS. Students, professors, and African American community members are still waiting for racist police officer Keith Smith to be dismissed from his job. Many would like to see Smith brought up on charges for the crime he committed against a defenseless man in his own apartment. There will most certainly be a civil suit on Kofi’s behalf.
SDS and the Coalition plan to continue their protests and meetings to force the University of Florida administration, the University Police Department, and the state’s attorney to meeting other demands as well. On top of the charges being dropped, SDS and the Coalition are demanding a campus review board overseeing the University Police Department (UPD). Though it is unlikely to prevent police brutality like the shooting of Adu-Brempong, hopes are that a board may provide oversight into the procedure and actions of the police by students, faculty, and other Gainesville area residents–especially African Americans.
On June 15th at the UF Student Senate, and with Adu-Brempong’s family there, a student government resolution calling for a campus review board was passed. Written by members of SDS, it provided the first steps for the review board’s creation. With the foundation laid, the campus review board will be established within a short matter of time. Protests and the campaign for justice are what delivered relief for Kofi Adu-Brempong and his family, and as the past few months have shown, the university administration will yield to the will of the people.