ST. PETERSBURG, FL — In an August 15 press conference — two days after Florida Governor Charlie Crist called for a review of an investigation conducted by State Attorney Bernie McCabe into the St. Petersburg police murder of 17-year-old Javon Dawson — Uhuru Movement Press Secretary Nyabinga Dzimbahwe made the following statement:
“We want to talk today about Governor Crist’s call for a review of the bogus investigation done by the office of State Attorney Bernie McCabe and what that means for the Justice for Javon Dawson Campaign.
“We say that Governor Crist’s call for a review is a victory in the struggle for justice for Javon Dawson, not because of any confidence in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who he’s called on to do the review but because the governor’s call for a review of McCabe’s findings is itself an admission that McCabe’s ‘justifiable homicide’ decision is questionable. It is an admission that McCabe’s findings cannot be trusted standing on their own.
“But while Governor Crist’s call for a review might signal an admission of the injustice in the murder of Javon Dawson, it does not mean the same for the FDLE who he has called on to perform the review. So we demand that the review be a transparent process so that the public can view the process and make its own assessments of its validity.
“We also recognize that politics are playing a major role in this process. It was politics that played a role in the murder of Javon Dawson. Mayor Baker’s plan to extend downtown to 34th Street makes necessary the removal of the African community which uses the policy of police containment which brought the war-scarred sharp shooting Iraq war veteran Terrence Nemeth into this community to murder young Javon Dawson.
“The politics of Republican Bernie McCabe’s office that shares the same concerns as the Republican Mayor Rick Baker who has political aspirations plays a role. We even recognize the possibility that the political aspirations of the Republican Governor Charlie Crist to be Vice President on the Republican ticket influence his decisions.
“So our actions are influenced by our understanding of what influences his actions. As Governor Crist and John McCain are traveling around the country to win support for their campaign, we’ll also be sending Diop Olugbala around the country winning support for the Justice for Javon Dawson Campaign. You all may be familiar with Diop as the man who in the Uhuru Movement’s demonstration intervened in presidential candidate Barack Obama’s rally demanding he answer the question, “What about the black community.”
“We believe that as Governor Crist is traveling around the country to win support for his candidacy, people need to be aware that he is tied to this struggle here.”
Dzimbahwe then introduced Kobina Bantushango, the Uhuru Movement’s Southeastern U.S. representative who made known that the Uhuru Movement is calling for the establishment of an independent, community-based, police review board with subpoena powers. He stated that this is something that the city should unite with if the city and the police have nothing to hide.
Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), followed Bantushango and announced the initiation of a campaign to make the city pay reparations to the family of Javon Dawson as well as those of Jarrell Walker, Marquell McCullough, and TyRon Lewis — all African teenagers murdered by either the St. Petersburg Police or the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department who were invited into the city by current police chief Charles Harmon after the previous police chief, Goliath Davis, had asked them to stay out of St. Petersburg jurisdiction because of their terroristic tactics against the African community.
When asked how the Uhuru Movement felt about the NAACP’s call for the federal government to investigate the case, Nyabinga Dzimbahwe replied, “We’re glad to see everyone — the governor and the NAACP — unite with what we’ve been saying about McCabe’s investigation not being able to be trusted.”