The Department of Justice has cleared the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office of any wrongdoing following the September 29th arrest of 24-year-old Le’keian Woods.
In a letter the DOJ writes, “Based on the known information, this incident does not give rise to a prosecutable violation of the federal civil rights laws. As a result, we are closing our review of this matter.” The letter continues, “Separately, we are aware of some inaccurate reports that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is monitoring the Sheriff’s office. Please know that the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section does not currently have an open investigation into this conduct or the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”
The letter deals a major blow to local media reports claiming DOJ is actively “monitoring” the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for federal civil rights violations.
The arrest of Le’keian Woods gained national attention after a doctored cell phone video of the incident went viral. Without knowing anything other than what was depicted via a short grainy cell phone video, our local media spent three days declaring JSO ‘brutally’ kicked and beat an innocent unarmed black man while handcuffed, after pulling him over for not wearing a seatbelt. We were all horrified when we saw the photo of Woods’ bloody swollen face after seeing video of him being kicked and punched with his hands behind his back.
The footage sparked protests and press conferences by local activists, Woods’ mother and attorneys all demanding “justice.”
While the race hustlers got to work, the media ate it up.
The story was everywhere.
Headlines featured a heartbroken mother claiming her innocent son was simply getting a ride to his grandmother’s house from his uncle when he was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. After being handcuffed, his mother claims JSO beat him causing a ruptured kidney, concussion and headaches.
The Associated Press posted: “Video shows bloodied Black man during ‘brutal’ traffic stop in Jacksonville.”
The Guardian.com: “Florida: Black man in severe pain from violent ‘beatdown’ arrest, lawyers say.”
The UK Daily Mail posted: “I felt like Emmet Till’s mother when she saw her son’: Mom’s fury as son Lekeian Woods, 24, is left ‘unrecognizable’ after three white Florida cops smashed his face into the sidewalk during a brutal arrest for ‘not wearing a seatbelt’.”
Blackenterprise.com posted the headline: “Outrage over the violent arrest of Le’keian Woods spreads after video is released.”
Fox 35 Orlando posted: “Jacksonville man ‘brutally beaten’ by police officers during traffic stop, family says.”
Jacksonville’s top cop vowed to investigate, while standing by his officers.
Turns out, it was all a lie.
Sheriff T.K. Waters held a press conference.
Sheriff Waters tells an unapologetic media, the cell phone footage they aired is fake. He explains, “it is now clear that some of the circulated cell phone camera footage has been intentionally altered to imply that one of the detectives kicked a handcuffed Woods. Body-worn camera footage and unedited versions of the cell phone camera footage on social media definitely indicate that this detective never kicked a handcuffed Woods. While a rush to judgement is dangerous the intentional distribution of manipulated video is shocking. Unacceptable and frankly immoral. The only logical conclusion that can be drawn by such altered video is that its creator or distributor has a personal agenda seeking to incite community rage against police officers. And very easily could have been violence.”
Sheriff Waters understood how quickly tensions could have escalated and decided to set the record straight. It was a bold move. And the right one for the good of our city.
Let’s not forget what happened in 2014 when the media lied to the country regarding the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by creating completely fake “hands up don’t shoot” narrative. The media told America, “gentle giant” Michael Brown was an innocent high school senior who was simply looking forward to college, when a racist white police officer shot him even though Brown said “don’t shoot” with his hands up in compliance. That sparked weeks of violent protests, looting and businesses being burned to the ground.
Turns out, “hand up don’t shoot” was completely made up. Michel Brown robbed a convenience store and callously punched the store clerk in the face.
While walking home after the robbery, officers stopped Brown because he was walking in the middle of the street. Brown attacked the officer inside his SUV and tried to take his gun. The officer was able to gain control shooting Brown, killing him. It took a year for a Grand Jury to tell the country Brown never even said the words “don’t shoot,” never had his hands up and violently attacked the officer. It was all a lie spoon fed to the American people over and over for a year from every major network in the country.
JSO’s press conference went on to show unedited body-worn camera footage, from several different officers, of Woods’ arrest. The Sheriff admits it is hard to watch. “There was force used and force is ugly,” he says. The Sheriff continued, “Just because it’s ugly doesn’t mean it’s unlawful.” Using the video, officers explained to the media what really happened.
JSO’s Gang Unit saw an armed Woods in a drug deal on Powers Ave. Woods was already known by the unit, so they immediately recognized him. Detectives pulled over the truck Woods was riding in.
The driver and back seat rider complied while Woods took off running. Woods left behind meth, coke, oxy, fentanyl and a gun on the back seat. JSO commanded Woods to stop several times. He kept running, so he was tazed. It didn’t work. The second time, it worked. Woods immediately went completely stiff, experiencing what’s called “neuromuscular incapacitation,” falling face first onto the pavement.
It was spectacular.
After being tazed twice and smashing his own face in, Woods kept trying to fight off officers while on the ground. Woods was kneed, hit and elbowed a few times while JSO tried to cuff him. Woods was taken to the hospital where he was booked in absence.
A warning. The language used and use of force may be difficult for some.
Attorneys for the Woods family petitioned the Department of Justice to investigate possible civil rights violations. In a letter sent to the Department, attorney Harry Daniels writes Woods “is one of several unarmed people of color who has been brutally beaten after encountering members of JSO.”
They argue JSO had no reason to pull over Woods’ ride and without one, he had every right to walk away from the scene. According to the AP, attorney Marwan Porter claims, “if there’s no probable cause, the passenger can get out and leave.”
After sending the request, Woods’ attorneys enlisted the media to tell the country the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is “monitoring” the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
News4Jax posted: “Justice Department ‘monitoring’ LeKeian Woods’ incident after receiving allegations of ‘excessive use of force’.”
First Coast News reported: “DOJ is ‘monitoring’ brutal arrest by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office”.
Yahoo News: “DOJ monitoring Jacksonville cops after beating of Black man on video goes viral”.
Atlanta Black Star posted the headline: “Justice Department Says It Is ‘Monitoring’ The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Following Viral ‘Rag Doll’ Style Beating of Black Man Le’Keian Woods”.
The DOJ made it very clear that was not accurate following the investigation. One phone call or email from a reporter could have validated the false claim.
Another journalistic fail in this case.
Attorneys claim Woods’ criminal past is the reason for the officer’s aggressive behavior during the arrest. During JSO’s press conference, we learned officers already had Woods on their radar. Apparently, this isn’t the first time Woods has run away from a bad situation.
At the time of his recent arrest, Woods was on felony probation stemming from a robbery gone bad in Leon County. In 2017 Woods was charged with second-degree felony murder in the death of his roommate, Derrick Curtis Jr., also from Jacksonville. According to media reports, Curtis and Woods tried to rob the guy who was selling them weed. Curtis pulled out a gun and started shooting at the dealer, who also returned fire. Curtis was killed. Woods disappeared along with Curtis’ cell phone. The dealer was released based on self-defense. Using cell phone data, police tracked down Woods in Jacksonville. He told investigators he and Curtis were attacked by 4 men while at a party. When the shooting started, Woods said he ran
away and had no idea what happened to Curtis. Woods was originally facing a homicide charge, but he pleaded down to aggravated robbery.
Woods was given a second chance with the lesser plea. Instead of trying to get his life back on track, Woods decided to head home, hook up with gangbangers and start dealing hard drugs.
Today, Woods is back in a Leon County jail facing probation charges.
So, why does this story matter?
It matters because our local media must begin using their platform to report unbiased universal truth instead of being a mouthpiece for local race hustlers.
The “summer of love” race riots of 2020 taught us what can happen when activists pretending to be journalists report a lie.
We witnessed BLM race riots across America, all stemming from false media narratives. Forbes reports BLM riots caused more than $2 billion in property damage, 19 people, mostly black, were killed and more than 900 officer casualties were documented.
Someone intentionally edited the video and sent it to local stations. News directors decided to run the fake video. Why?
What is the benign and innocent reason local media would play the video on-air without verifying its authenticity?
If the video was real, it would vindicate the spirit of the age’s alter call: white racist cops disproportionately target, beat and murder black men simply because they can.
Woods attorney Harry Daniels wants the city to know we are not safe because racist police are on the loose. He says, “we don’t have a bad apple, we have a bad apple orchard.” Daniels adds, “when the sheriff validates ratifies and confirms the actions of these officers, who are back on the streets today, nobody is safe.”
The message is clear. We are not safe because racist police are traumatizing minorities simply for the color of their skin and our justice system built on white supremacy props up bad cops while oppressing the marginalized.
In reality, JSO is keeping us safe from criminals like Woods. JSO didn’t have to ‘brutally’ beat Woods. He did it for them.
The only person to blame for all of this is Le’keian Woods. His skin color didn’t make him break bad. He chose sell drugs in front of a cop. He chose to run. He chose to resist.
Woods isn’t a victim. He is the victimizer.