Public defenders gather to Walk for Justice in Gainesville

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 1:16 PM EDT
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Public defenders are taking to the public streets for black lives matter.

On Monday public defenders across the nation marched in protest of inequality and racism in the judicial system.

We'll show you how Wednesday, Gainesville public defenders also took to the streets with a similar message.

TV20's Landon Harrar reported "one concept that came up multiple times with the protesting public defenders, systemic racism. Something they see every day on the job and want changed so everyone can receive true justice."

Aubroncee Martin is an assistant public defender who said, "when you have a power structure that imposes punishment negative consequences and the primary or the precipitating reason is a race that's systemic racism."

Stacy Scott is the public defender for the 8th judicial circuit who explained, "it's a proven fact that people of color are arrested more often. People of color are charged with more serious crimes than white people. They're more likely to stay in jail pre-trial due to the monetary bail system which discriminates against poor people and by virtue of that a lot of people of color and people of color are more likely to serve longer prison sentences with the same crimes and criminal history of white defendants."

Other attorneys came to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement while continuing to raise awareness of other minorities facing injustice.

Civil rights attorney Simone Chriss said, "the majority of the clients I have that have seen the most severe discrimination and systemic injustice is my trans clients of color. Trans women of color in the state of florida are murdered at a very high rate a disproportionate rate and it's something we're not really talking about. So I'm hoping with all this movement around racial reform and racial justice that the voices of the LGBTQ community are heard as well."

But they all have a message for anybody skeptical of how lawyers or public defenders may represent them if they're a minority.

Martin said, "it's important for the person to know that the person who stands in the gap for them who is their shield is steadfast and sturdy and committed to the task so that's why it's important for us to be here."