Lee County, Florida Sheriff Mike Scott sent a letter to Lee County Branch NAACP president James Muwakkil explaining his disdain for the way he believes the NAACP ignores “epidemic” black-on-black violence in certain parts of Florida while allegedly trying to recast the Trayvon Martin shooting as white vs. black violence to score political points.
Sheriff Scott was invited to the NAACP’s “Freedom Fund Awards Banquet” and was even asked to sponsor the event financially, but as he made clear in his July 16 letter, “[he] will not be doing either.” Regarding the lack of NAACP response to black-on-black violence, Scott writes:
Record numbers of young, black males have been gunned down in Ft. Myers in an epidemic of alarming proportions over the last few years. In virtually every instance the killer was also black and the majority of those cases remain open… To date I am unaware of any appreciable attention or public outcry the NAACP locally or nationally have afforded these issues in our own, proverbial backyard.
Scott then turned his attention to the Zimmerman trial: “Conversely, you immediately inserted yourself and the Lee County Branch in the matter of Trayvon Martin’s tragic death in a city hours from ours and publicly declared the matter to have been mishandled by the police.”
The Sheriff went on to describe how that local NAACP branch had reacted to Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict and suggested they would have “applauded” it had the same trial, verdict, and “justice system” convicted Zimmerman. He suggests that by going along with the media ploy of labeling Zimmerman “white” instead of Latino or “half Latino,” the local NAACP put itself in a position where only a guilty verdict could be accepted.
In the closing paragraph of the letter, Scott highlights other ongoing issues he believes the Lee County Branch of the NAACP ignores while seizing instead on issues that garner political capital.
I consider you a friend and hope my candor does not ruin that; however, I simply find myself unable to support your professional agenda, which I believe actually contradicts the goal of eliminating double standards.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.