(MIAMI, FL, 6/11/2020) – The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the state’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the arrest of Springfield, Florida police officer Ronnie Nelson for felony official misconduct and battery on Solomon Smith.
According to NBC Local 7 news station WJHG, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford narrated that “the victim, Solomon Smith, was walking on the sidewalk just after midnight on the night of the 29th when Officer Ronnie Nelson and a recruit officer” intervened with him back on May 29th. A short time later, a backup officer arrived, and officer Nelson deployed his taser at Smith.” They further reported that “Springfield Police Chief said after reviewing footage of the incident, all charges against Smith were dropped and a criminal investigation was opened up into the incident.”
“CAIR-Florida commends the prompt and diligent response to this most important matter from Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford and Springfield Police Chief Barry Roberts. Our civil rights work can never be complete until all citizens are equally accountable for their wrongdoings. That includes any and all law enforcement agents that dishonor their oath and violate the trust and rights of our citizens,” said CAIR-Florida North Regional Coordinator Hiba Rahim.
Rahim added: “Police brutality, racism and xenophobia have no place in our society. Officer Nelson’s alleged abusive and criminal conduct further corrupts and debilitates the trust our citizens should have in their law enforcement agencies. We hope that this prompt and diligent investigation signals Springfield and Bay County officials that time is up for serious reforms to our local and state law enforcement agencies that continue to address the systemic problems of racism and police brutality.”
CAIR Florida also praises the work of the NWFL Minority Chambers of Commerce as well as The LEAD Coalition of Bay County, Inc. for their vigilance on this matter and for working with local law enforcement agencies to ensure justice is delivered.