Approximately 30 black residents met with representatives from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to discuss racial profiling in Archer Monday. The issue gained attention during the June 26, 2007 Alachua County Commission meeting, but Archer resident Sophia Robinson said things have not gotten any better.
"I am a prisoner in Archer, Fla.," Robinson said. "I'm not ashamed to say it. That's what it feels like."
Over the last two months, Robinson said she and her family have been victimized by deputies eight times.
"Once a month, you get a gun in your face or the police cars just pull-up and they come in your house or when they stop you, they search your vehicle for no good reason," Robinson explained. "It's got to stop."
So she started calling the Sheriff's Office to complain, but when those calls were not returned, she called the Alachua County N.A.A.C.P.
"I did not expect to hear these things in 2007," Alachua County N.A.A.C.P. President Michael Bowie said.
Residents however claimed the allegations are true, and Bowie said their stories were compelling.
"You don't get 30 individuals to a meeting to discuss all of the issues that they're having out here without there being some truth to those situations," he said.
A spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office said the department was not informed of the meeting, therefore no deputies were present to answer the charges made against them. After the June 26th County Commission meeting where Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut said racial profiling was a serious problem, deputies did start and internal investigation.
Bowie said he hopes a meeting with Sheriff Sadie Darnell can be arranged as soon as possible to discuss the situation. According to Robinson, she still respects the Sheriff's Office but deputies need to be held accountable for their actions.
"I hope that the Sheriff's department can come in here and perform, not harass the citizens," she said. "That's all we want. That's all we want."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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