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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to Appoint Eric Smith as New Police Chief

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Deputy Chief Eric Smith. Photo: Orlando Police Department.

ORLANDO, FL (FNN) – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the appointment of Eric Smith, a 27-year Orlando Police Department veteran, as the next Police Chief of the City of Orlando. Smith will serve as the city’s 40th Police Chief.

Last week, Police Chief Orlando Rolón announced his upcoming retirement after more than 29 years of service to the citizens of Orlando.

“Over the past three years, under the leadership of Chief Rolón, OPD has continued to aggressively fight crime, innovate with new technology and further increase transparency with our community,” said Mayor Dyer. “It’s been an honor to work together with Chief Rolón to protect and serve our citizens throughout his tenure with the Orlando Police Department.”

“I am confident that under Chief Smith’s dedicated leadership, the Orlando Police Department will continue to work diligently in protecting our community against crime, while ensuring that every resident is equally protected and respected,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Chief Smith is well respected by officers and community members and is the right person to lead the department forward.”

A 33-year resident of Orlando, Smith will oversee the day-to-day operations of the department and serve as chief counsel to the Mayor in matters of public safety. During his tenure with the Orlando Police Department, Smith has worked in or supervised three of the four Department Bureaus and 10 of the Department’s 11 Divisions and has been a Deputy Chief for eight years.

Most recently he has served as the Bureau Commander for the Patrol Services Bureau, the largest section of OPD that is comprised of more than 500 sworn officers. He also serves as OPD’s High-Risk Incident Commander where he leads the SWAT Team, Crisis Negotiations Team, Emergency Response Team, Emergency Services Team, and the Crisis Intervention Team. In addition to his regular job assignments, Smith also served more than 19 years as member of the SWAT Team, including the position of Team Commander.

Smith is a graduate of the 269th Session of the FBI National Academy and has also completed the FBI Florida Executive Development Program. In addition to his role with OPD, Smith is actively involved in the community, including service on numerous boards, including YMCA of Central Florida, Valencia College Student Affairs, After-School All-Stars, United Against Poverty, Camaraderie Foundation and the Central Florida Boy Scouts of America.

Rolón’s last day in the office will be August 19, 2022, and his retirement is effective on November 1, 2022. After Rolón’s last day in the office, Smith will serve as Acting Chief and assume the position of Chief of Police on November 2, 2022.

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Black Lives

Former Louisville Cop Pleads Guilty in Breonna Taylor Case

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FILE - This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Ky., apartment in March 2020. A former Louisville police detective who helped write the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Taylor's apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Louisville police detective who helped falsify the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Breonna Taylor’s apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.

Federal investigators said Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later conspired with another detective to create a cover story when Taylor’s March 13, 2020, shooting death by police began gaining national attention.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot to death by officers who knocked down her door while executing a drug search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.

Goodlett, 35, appeared in a federal courtroom in Louisville on Tuesday afternoon and admitted to conspiring with another Louisville police officer to falsify the warrant. Goodlett briefly answered several questions from federal judge Rebecca Jennings Grady.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was in the courtroom Tuesday but did not speak after the proceedings.

Three former Louisville officers were indicted on criminal civil rights charges earlier this month by a federal grand jury. Goodlett was not indicted, but charged in a federal information filing, which likely means the former detective is cooperating with investigators.

Goodlett will be sentenced Nov. 22. Grady said there may be “extenuating circumstances” that may move the court to push back the sentencing date. Part of the plea hearing was also kept under seal and was not discussed in open court Tuesday. She faces up to five years in prison for the conviction.

She resigned from the department Aug. 5, a day after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new federal charges in the Taylor case.

Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany were indicted on charges related to the warrant used to search Taylor’s home. A third former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with using excessive force when he retreated from Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. He was acquitted by a jury on similar state charges earlier this year. Jaynes, Meany and Hankison have all been fired.

The three former officers face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the civil rights charges.

Federal prosecutors said in court records that Jaynes, who drew up the Taylor warrant, had claimed to Goodlett days before the warrant was served that he had “verified” from a postal inspector that a suspected drug dealer was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. But Goodlett knew this was false and told Jaynes the warrant did not yet have enough information connecting Taylor to criminal activity, prosecutors said. She added a paragraph saying the suspected drug dealer, Jamarcus Glover, was using Taylor’s apartment as his current address, according to the court records.

Two months later, when the Taylor shooting was attracting national headlines, the postal inspector told a media outlet he had not verified packages for Glover were going to Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes and Goodlett then met in Jaynes’ garage to “get on the same page” before Jaynes talked to investigators about the Taylor warrant, court records said.

They decided to say Sgt. John Mattingly, who is identified in the court records as J.M., told them Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s home, according to prosecutors. Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid at Taylor’s apartment.

Meany, who signed off on the Taylor warrant and was still a Louisville police sergeant when he was indicted on Aug. 4, was fired by Louisville Police Chief Erika Shields on Friday.

Shields said in a statement that Meany has not yet had his case heard by a jury, but “he is facing multiple federal charges after a lengthy investigation by the DOJ” and should not “expect continued employment under such conditions.”

Hankison was the only officer charged who was on the scene the night of the killing.

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Black Lives

A Black State Rep. Wants ‘Swift Action’ Against a White State Senator for Calling Him the Governor’s ‘Little B***h’

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Rep. James Bush speaks alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis during the bill signing ceremony at William A. Kirlew Junior Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist K-8 school in Miami Gardens, on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald.

MIAMI, Fla. (FNN) – Who’s responsible when a lawmaker insults another lawmaker in public?

On August 5, 2022 an article published by POLITICO, written by Matt Dixon, quoted Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) referring to Representative Dr. James Bush III (D-Miami) as the Governor’s “little b***h.”

Where is the outrage from the Florida Democratic Party, or the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida? Are their heads in the sand or will they call on the senator make a public apology?

Who decides to police the behavior of what lawmakers can’t say? Who’s next on the Senator’s little b***h list?

Was it okay for Republican Congressman Ted Yoho to call Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “f*****g b***h” a reporter reported in 2020?

State Representative Dr. James Bush III is the longest serving black state lawmaker (since 1992) in Florida and is calling for action against State Senator Jason Pizzo.

Representative Bush, along with pastors, community leaders, and organizations will be condemning the derogatory statement made by Senator Jason Pizzo in a press conference Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at 10am at the Historic Hampton House 4240 NW 27th Ave Miami, FL 33142.

Rep. Bush’s press release Monday stated that “the community, along with Representative Bush, are demanding swift action be taken against this blatantly disrespectful statement not only toward Representative Bush but the wom[en], families, children, and constituents in District 109 and the entire State of Florida.”

Bush, whose service in state government dates back three decades, has drawn anger in recent years over his increased support of GOP-backed legislation endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that critics decry as bigoted and harmful.

Bush was the sole Democrat who voted yes for the controversial law restricting classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual preference (popularly dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law). He was also the only Democrat to vote with Republicans on Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking victims.

Those two major votes put Bush at odds with his fellow Democrats, turning some to support his Primary opponent this year, lawyer Ashley Gantt, including Sen. Pizzo. Gantt is holding her own press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Joseph Caleb Center in Miami to highlight how her progressive credentials contrast with Rep Bush’s.

Here’s Pizzo’s whole commentary to POLITICO:

“The Governor seems to have issues with Black folks,” he said, referring to DeSantis’ new congressional map critics say reduced the number of Black-performing districts in the state and legislation he called for targeting “woke” indoctrination in public schools and private workplaces.

“But instead of (Bush) leveraging his relationship with the Governor to help, he is the Governor’s little b**ch.”

 

COMMENTARY: IS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AN APPROVED STANDARD FOR DEMOCRATIC LEADERS?

Political disagreements are inevitable. Lawmakers are human beings–individuals–who will support or oppose measures based on the combination of their own experiences and intelligence, plus the needs of the people they’ve been elected to serve. At a tertiary level, they’ll also factor in the objectives of any special interest groups who’ve chosen to back them. That said, not every lawmaker will vote along party lines 100 percent of the time–not if they have a mind of their own and are not a political plant.

It’s one thing to disagree with and then attack a person’s voting record. The Democrats and Sen. Pizzo are displeased with the way Rep. Bush chose to vote. That’s fine. That’s political discourse. That’s how the legislature works.

It’s another–and unacceptable–thing to attack a person’s character simply because you don’t like their voting record…or simply because you don’t like them.

That’s immature. That’s what we saw in 2020 with US Rep. Yoho attacking AOC.

And here’s the dangerous part: If Democratic Party leaders or the Democratic Black Caucus don’t speak out on this, white elected officials, regardless of age or level of experience, attacking elected officials of color will become a norm (perhaps again). And this will mean that this deplorable behavior has become the new norm for the Democratic Party as a whole, proving that they no longer care about the people they represent, but their own agenda.

This isn’t Sen. Pizzo’s first attack against Rep. Bush. In tweet supporting Bush’s Primary opponent Gantt back in July, Sen. Pizzo stated, “Florida ‘Democrat’ James Bush is a shill for the Florida Republicans. Voting against Democratic values and kissing the Governor’s ass — all day, everyday. Join me in letting politicians know that their actions have real consequences.”

The Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate are not high school. Such antics as what we’re seeing from Sen. Pizzo need to be called out and held accountable–not just for elected Democrats, but for the candidates, too.

If a candidate like this goes to Tallahassee, as former State Rep. Bruce Antone, who’s running for Florida House District 41, stated on Facebook Monday: “These type[s] [of] legislators operate in a perpetual state of protest and they are ignored the moment they begin speaking.”

Is this the direction the Democratic Party wants to go in? Prioritizing “dissenting voices”–as Antone put it–over effective lawmaking?

________________________________________________

Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

 

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2022 Midterm Election

Orlando Sentinel Endorses Angel Perry for Florida House District 36

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Florida House District 36 candidate Angel Perry. Photo: Angel Perry campaign.

SANFORD, Fla. – The Angel Perry campaign announced today that the Orlando Sentinel has endorsed the Republican candidate in her bid for Florida House District 36.

Perry’s campaign priorities include following and protecting the Constitution, including keeping the Second Amendment intact; protecting and paying our first responders well, creating more programs for our veterans so that they can live out their days in success and prosperity, creating more opportunities for small businesses to thrive, and transparency and accountability for all elected officials.

Perry has a chance to make history with a November win–it would make her the first African American Republican woman from Central Florida to be elected to the Florida House. She has two Republican opponents in the August 23rd Republican primary for House District 36: Richard Santos and Rachel Plakon.

The Orlando Sentinel lavished cautious praise in their endorsement of Perry.

“Angelique “Angel” Perry has her eyes on the prize. Her positions are every bit as conservatively dogmatic as Plakon and Santos. And her calm demeanor and focus could make her a formidable presence in Tallahassee, where she’d bring a welcome fresh perspective on the challenges facing Florida in the coming two years. That’s not to say we agree with her, because there are few areas where we do… If voters want solid Republican ideology, free of baggage and uncertainty, she’s the best choice.”

 

“For too long the government has done nothing but in-fighting while the work of the people is not getting done,” Angel Perry said in her press statement. “I don’t have to reach across the aisle–my record shows I can work with all viewpoints without compromising my beliefs.

“We the people mean everyone together. There is no way forward without that. A left-leaning newspaper’s endorsement of a right wing conservative is proof in the pudding and I am very grateful for the Orlando Sentinel’s endorsement.”

For more information, visit angel4florida.com.

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