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NAACP state and local leaders misspeak…twice

August 13, 2013

Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida State Conference NAACP, made a misstatement while she was in Pensacola last Saturday morning for a town hall meeting on the shooting last month of Roy Middleton by Escambia County deputies. Middleton was unarmed and in his front yard.

Newza blasted Sheriff David Morgan and his staff at the meeting held at Greater True Vine Baptist Church for not being there.

The Independent News spoke with Sheriff Morgan later that Saturday.

“I don’t know where that (Newza’s statement) is coming from,” said Sheriff Morgan. “I received no invitation. We have never refused a meeting to explain the facts of any incident. My staff delivered yesterday a packet to Movement for Change that tried to answer all their questions.”

At press conference held at the same church that evening, Ellison Bennett did mention a series of questions that his group, Coalition for Justice of Northwest Florida, had delivered to the sheriff’s office last Monday, but he didn’t say anything about the sheriff’s packet of information.

Sheriff Morgan said that the NAACP leadership hasn’t asked to meet with him nor has Bennett’s coalition.

“I’ve never refused such a meeting,” said the sheriff.

When told the Baptist Minister Union leadership said at their press conference that they will be meeting with him. Sheriff Morgan said he looked forward to the opportunity. There is no word yet on when that meeting will take place.

In its quest to keep the Sheriff Morgan on its front page, the daily newspaper ran a story quoting that the sheriff hadn’t been invited to the town meeting, but also included another bizarre statement from John Veasley, president of the Pensacola chapter of NAACP.

According to the daily newspaper, Veasley said he couldn’t remember Nweze’s comment on the sheriff’s attendance, but Veasley said that the sheriff had deputies “stationed outside the church before and during the meeting.”

The Independent News checked with people at the meeting. There were not deputies at or near the church which is located in the Pensacola city limits. Maybe PPD had some officers there–which isn’t that unusual. At the peace walk for Trayvon Martin held in July, Pensacola Police were there to help with traffic and no one thought anything about it.

We didn’t report the state president’s slap at the sheriff because we saw it as a non-story. Nweze attacked other leaders, including African-American officials, during her speech–much of that was inaccurate, too. Again, non-story.

The news is Sheriff Morgan, who was out of town last week at a Florida Sheriffs Association conference, is meeting with leaders from the African-American community. We need honest dialogue, not rhetoric and hyperbole. We need the facts discussed, not misstatements that further someone’s hidden agenda.

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