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Friday, March 19, 2010

University of Florida Students Protest Police Shooting of African Graduate Student: Kofi Adu-Brempong

University of Florida Students Protest Police Shooting of African Graduate Student

Source: Democracy Now!

In Florida, hundreds of students rallied at the University of Florida on Tuesday over the shooting of an African graduate student by campus police. The student, Kofi Adu-Brempong, has been hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot in the face by an officer in a raid on his home earlier this month. Police say they were called to the home after neighbors reported the student to be visibly distraught. According to police, Adu-Brempong tried to attack officers with a knife and a metal rod. But supporters and family members have rejected the allegations and say the rod was actually a walking cane used by Abu-Brempong as a result of a childhood bout with polio. On Tuesday, a crowd of over 300 students marched on the University of Florida’s Board of Trustees.
UF Student Fernando Figueroa: “We’re demanding that all charges be dropped against Kofi, because they’re trying to do, you know, kind of something what’s called extortion. Like they’re saying, ‘Oh, we’ll drop the charges if you don’t file a lawsuit.’ And so, we’re demanding that all the charges be dropped and that more severe action be taken against the offending officer, Keith Smith.”
The officer who shot Kofi Adu-Brempong has been identified as Keith Smith. He has previously been reprimanded for an incident in which he allegedly harassed and threw eggs at African Americans while off-duty.

See also:

Protest to demand justice for Kofi Adu-Brempong at University of Florida

Kofi's sister-in-law talks about Kofi's condition at Shand's hospital at University of Florida.

University of Florida Board of Trustees member Danny Ponce responds to protesters demands on Kofi Adu-Brempong case on March 16th, 2010.

Officials obtain shooting-related video

Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010 12:15 am | Updated: 12:25 pm, Fri Mar 19, 2010.

JOEY FLECHAS and ANA GONI-LESSAN, Alligator Writers | 1 comment

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has a copy of a video showing the moments leading to the March 2 University Police Department shooting of UF graduate student Kofi Adu-Brempong and is examining the video as part of its investigation.

One of Adu-Brempong's neighbors, who wishes to be anonymous, said she began filming when she heard police talking to the student. The video is about 10 minutes long.

Spencer Mann, spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, said the video would only be made available to the public if the State Attorney’s Office pressed charges and held an arraignment against any of the officers involved in the shooting.

Mann said it’s too early to say what, if any, charges will be made.

“We’re going to let the facts, the evidence and the state law speak for itself,” Mann said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the case now. It will report its findings to the State Attorney’s Office.

The office will assign a prosecutor to review the case before any charges are made.

Two of Adu-Brempong’s neighbors and the witness who took the video said they heard five shots fired.

The neighbors said they heard three shots, a brief pause and then two more shots that sounded different than the first three.

The witness who took the video stopped filming after hearing the shots.

The witness added that one of the officers came out of Adu-Brempong's apartment after the shots were heard, sat down and put his head in his hands. Another officer put a hand on his shoulder.

Sheryl Quail, a graduate student in the school of forest resources and conservation, also lives at Corry Village and attended the UF Board of Trustees meeting at Emerson Hall Tuesday to try to present the video.

Quail said she waited until the end of the meeting to attempt to present it using her laptop.

But Student Body President Jordan Johnson, who was at the meeting, said Quail was unable to present the video because the meeting was adjourned.

Johnson said she interrupted a board member’s speech, and members were surprised by Quail’s attempt to present.

“But, you know, we encourage free speech,” Johnson said. “We understand this is America, and it’s important to, you know, have a good pulse of the feelings of students on this campus.”

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said Quail brought a list of demands to the meeting, and they were distributed to each member of the Board of Trustees.

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