Pasco activists protest sheriff’s pre-crime policing program


Last Saturday, Black Lives Matter New Port Richey gathered at the corner of U.S. Highway-19 and Ridge Road in Port Richey to protest Pasco County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) controversial pre-crime policing program, which, in part, targets school children. As well, the group called for the complete removal of police from Pasco County Schools. 

During the protest, around 15 protesters decried the practices of Pasco law enforcement. Last year, Tampa Bay Times discovered that PCSO uses a pre-crime policing algorithm to create a list of students it believes are likely to commit a crime. PCSO then targeted those children and their families, which led to arrests and harassment.

The group also spoke against the practice of police in prisons.

“Zero tolerance discipline has resulted in Black students facing disproportionately harsher punishments,” the protest flyer reads. “Black students make up 31% of school related arrests. Black students are 3 times more likely to be suspended or expelled.”

Activists demand that Pasco County invests more money into schools and children’s futures, and less into what they call the “overly funded police”. 

New Port Richey BLM protests are known to have rabid opposition from the Proud Boys. But according to CL photographer Dave Decker, none showed up on foot. But one “patriot” drove by, yelled slurs and said, “I’m gonna come back with all my patriot buddies.” No one showed and the protest continued on without incident.—Justin Garcia 

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08/07/2021 | Photos by Dave Decker