Vigil held for Immokalee man killed by Collier County deputy




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Transparency. Accountability. Justice.

These phrases have been written on indicators — some in English, others in Spanish — held by dozens of demonstrators who gathered Sunday night at Zocalo Plaza in Immokalee.

The demonstrators referred to as for policing reform in response to the general public launch of video depicting the moments in September when a Collier County deputy shot and killed Nicolas Morales Besanilla, a 37-year-old single father from Immokalee.

5 months in the past, deputies have been referred to as to Farm Employees Village in Immokalee as a result of a girl reported {that a} man holding a shovel, who was later recognized as Morales Besanilla, was attempting to get into her dwelling. Inside seconds of deputies arriving on the scene, one among them shot Morales Besanilla.

911 audio: Woman says man killed by Collier deputy tried to enter her Immokalee home

We deserve to know what happened’: Family, community demand transparency in case of man killed by deputy

The State Lawyer’s Workplace accomplished a authorized evaluate and selected to not file prices in opposition to Cpl. Pierre Jean, the deputy who killed Morales Besanilla, deeming using lethal power in that case authorized and justified. Jean fired 4 gunshots at Morales Besanilla whereas one other deputy launched a K9. 

State Attorney’s Office: No charges vs. Collier deputy who fatally shot Immokalee man

On the vigil Sunday, Morales Besanilla’s relations described him as a diligent farmworker, a supplier and a peaceable man.

Jesus Andrade stated Morales Besanilla, his stepfather, took nice care of his mother, Olga Olvera Andrade, earlier than she died in 2015. Andrade stated his mother had diabetes and used a wheelchair, and his stepfather would prepare dinner and clear for them.

“After my mother’s loss of life, he was by no means the identical,” Andrade stated.

Andrade stated one of many issues that hurts him essentially the most about his stepfather’s loss of life is the truth that Morales Besanilla’s son, Nicolas Morales Jr., 12, will develop up with out his mother and father.

In a handwritten letter by the youthful Nicolas and skim on the vigil by one of many audio system, the kid expressed that he needs the Collier County Sheriff’s Workplace to be accountable for what occurred to his father.

Morales additionally wrote that he needs deputies to know the way he feels.

“Ever since that day I’ve been unhappy, lonely, indignant and grieving the lack of my dad. There’s not sooner or later I don’t take into consideration him and want issues might have been accomplished in a different way to nonetheless have my dad right here,” the kid’s letter states.

Morales wrote he can’t “assume proper” and that he will get “unhealthy flashbacks” about that night time.

“The police can’t get away with what they’ve accomplished,” his letter states.

Francisco Morales Besanilla, Nicolas Morales Besanilla’s youthful brother, stated the neighborhood should demand justice so nobody else within the county goes by means of what his brother did.

The officer that shot his older brother ought to go to jail, stated Francisco Morales Besanilla.

The Coalition of Immokalee Employees, the farmworker rights advocacy group that organized the vigil, stated three actions must happen within the wake of Nicolas Morales Besanilla’s loss of life.

Earlier protection: Coalition of Immokalee Workers continues call for transparency after man shot, killed by Collier deputy

The CIW calls for a federal investigation of the taking pictures and an improved psychological well being unit in Collier County. Additionally they name for the formation of an Immokalee Residents Overview Board to create a “means of transparency, accountability and neighborhood participation,” in accordance with the group’s web site.

Immokalee residents didn’t stand alone on the vigil. James Muwakkil, chairman of the Fort Myers Coalition for Justice and a 50-year Southwest Florida resident, held an indication calling for higher police accountability.

“I imagine what occurred right here was homicide,” he stated. “His actions didn’t condemn him to being shot 4 instances.”

The nationwide protests sparked by the loss of life of George Floyd, a Black man, after a Minneapolis police officer saved a knee on Floyd’s neck had no affect on Collier County, Muwakkil stated.

“Final 12 months’s protests didn’t make it Southwest Florida the place it was actually wanted,” stated Muwakkil, who’s Black. “Southwest Florida is racist. Legislation enforcement is racist in opposition to Black and brown folks, poor communities — we have to combat for them.”

Unique story: CCSO: Deputy shoots, kills Immokalee man who was holding a shovel

Reverend Mike Butler of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in North Naples stood holding an indication in hand in the course of the vigil. The signal referred to as for justice.

His church has virtually no Immokalee residents, however he wanted to indicate his help for the neighborhood within the wake of Morales Besanilla’s loss of life, Butler stated. 

“In our congregation, we all the time need social justice,” Butler stated. “We’re working in the direction of that for all folks of all colours.”

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