WUFT News

Residents Remember Police Egg-Throwing Incident

By on January 21st, 2014
Marvin Anderson says he doesn’t see police around the Porters Community neighborhood very often. Anderson has lived in the neighborhood since January 2009 after his mother-in-law passed away.

Taylor Gaines / WUFT News

Marvin Anderson says he doesn’t see police around the Porters Community neighborhood very often. Anderson has lived in the neighborhood since January 2009 after his mother-in-law passed away.

For some people, it’s hard to forgive off-duty police officers who drove through their neighborhood throwing eggs at their houses.

In Gainesville’s Porters Community neighborhood five years after an incident involving the Gainesville Police Department, it is hard for some residents to trust the police.

It was Nov. 2008 when three off-duty police officers drove through the neighborhood at night throwing eggs at residents’ homes from a pickup to “harass the prostitutes and drug dealers,” according to an investigation.

Ben Tobias, spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department, said it created some skepticism in Porters Community. It is important, he said, for the people living in the community to be comfortable going to the police with problems.

After the incident, Tobias said, it took some time for the community to regain its trust in the police department.

Some people have regained that trust, but some have not.

Community Looking Out For Each Other

Marvin Anderson, who moved to Porters Community in January 2009 after his mother-in-law passed away, said he hardly ever sees the police checking up on the neighborhood.

“To me, they’re not really doing what they’re supposed to be doing for this community,” he said.

Anderson is around the neighborhood in the morning often but only sees the police a couple times a week. And when he does see them, he said, it is during those early-morning hours when things are quiet.

While things have improved since the incident, he said, there is still a lot of drug activity going on, and he doesn’t expect the police to solve people’s problems for them. He feels it is important for people in the community to look out for each other.

Anderson would like to see the police come by once or twice a day, especially when kids are getting out of school. He said he worries about kids seeing things that they should not, including drug usage and other illegal activity.

Active in the Community’

Tobias said since the incident, however, the police department has made an effort to give citizens a safe and comfortable place to discuss neighborhood issues, to include organizing crime watch groups and holding community meetings.

Tony Jones, GPD police chief is also very active in the community, Tobias said.

“Chief Jones is very much known for his ability to literally immerse himself in the community,” Tobias said. “He doesn’t just work eight to five.”

Tobias said one thing Jones does is a monthly event where he goes out and walks a beat. People are invited to walk alongside him and have an “open and honest dialogue” about what is happening in their community.

Porters Community has been the focus of the walk a couple of times. Tobias said it helps to enhance the public trust and show that the police are there to protect and serve the community.

Hazen Wheeler, who moved to the neighborhood in 1989, said that the police have done a wonderful job repairing their relationship since the egg-throwing incident and that she often sees them patrolling the neighborhood.

Conversely, Chris Turner, a resident of Porters Community for 18 years, said he hasn’t seen much change since the incident.

Putting Patrols Where They Need to Be

The department has crime analysts who figure out where crime is likely to occur, Tobias said. The areas where officers patrol on any given day are based on that crime data.

Some officers may also work off hunches or tips from people on the streets as well, he said.

Diane Bumbray, a resident of Porters Community since 2008, said that as a former police chief’s assistant in Virginia, she understands both sides of the issue and believes that the egg-throwing ordeal was an isolated incident.

She said she also thinks that everyone has learned from the incident, and the police department has been very supportive since then.

And while it is difficult for some people to trust the police, Bumbray said, residents are beginning to realize the police are there to protect them. She often sees the police ride through and stop to talk to people in the neighborhood.

Establishing a rapport with citizens is important, she said, no matter what neighborhood they might be in. Some people may never trust the police, but she believes there is plenty of room for optimism in Porters Community.

Bumbray grew up in low-income housing in Gainesville in the 1970s said she has seen the quality of life for African-Americans continue to improve. And as she continues to see her community become more integrated, she has hope for the future.

“You go to church, and you see a mixed congregation,” Bumbray said. “And I’m thinking, ‘This is what Heaven’s going to look like.’”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

A group of 'dirty kids' fly a sign on the corner of SE 1st St and SE 2nd Pl while one patches up a jacket and another plays guitar on Jan. 23, 2015 in Gainesville​. Photo by Andrea Sarcos/WUFT News

‘Home-Free’ Squatters Find Community In Gainesville

An abandoned house in Gainesville became a home for a group of individuals that call themselves “dirty kids.” The dirty kids feel that they are different from homeless people.


IMG_8377

Chicken House Fire Kills 24,000 Chicks

Chickens die in a chicken house fire at Saavedra Farms on Wednesday night.


featured

Gainesville Family First To Win The Michelle Park Family Recreation Scholarship

The Garrity family is the first family to receive the Michelle Park Family Recreation Scholarship from the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. The scholarship is valued at $1,500 and was created for families to engage in recreational and cultural activities for free.


Gabrielle Steinberg, 22 months old, digs in the soil and pots a baby plant. The activity was part of the Kids Area crafting section of the festival.

Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival Flourishes Over the Weekend

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens hosted the 24th annual Spring Garden Festival over the weekend. The festival flourished with thousands of attendees including, families, horticulturalists and garden appreciators who enjoyed the first days of the spring at the garden.


IMG_0565

Bryant House To Become Historic Resource Center

The Historic Ocala Preservation Society purchased the 120-year-old Bryant House in August 2013 with the goal of turning it into a resource center for historic research. After restoring the exterior and first floor of the Bryant House, the society is taking steps to transform the front parlor and hope to have the room open by summer.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments