ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PLANT CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT'S MURDER OF JESUS CERVANTES
Jesus Cervantes, 35, dialed 911 in the early hours of July 6th, 2017. He told the operator he thought he was being followed but after that, all the operator could hear was a mixture of laughter and crying. By all reasonable accounts, it sounds like Cervantes was in serious distress. Plant City Police found him and began pursuing him. Cervantes, who had already expressed fears of being followed, naturally fled from the police, possibly due to being in mental duress. The police put out a stop spike and Cervantes crashed into the BP gas station.
Within minutes, the police surrounded him and ordered him out of the vehicle. They then stated "he reached for something" and as a result, they shot him, ending his life. We believe that everyone, regardless of "their choices", deserves restorative justice and not murder.
In coalition with Black Lives Matter Tampa, ANSWER Suncoast, and more, the Restorative Justice Coalition demanded transparency in Plant City Policing, including body cameras, external civilian review boards, de-escalation training, and more. These demands were apparently too much for Plant City to care about when they had other "important expenses", like a $150k armored tactical tank.
The Restorative Justice Coalition continued lobbying Plant City and gathering traction from July until December. We stepped back from the campaign in December 2017 after the Plant City Improvement Committee and other Plant City "leaders" told us, very bluntly, to step away.
We hope Plant City residents will find it within themselves to continue to hold the Plant City Police Department to higher standards.