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Gainesville Organizations Offer Free Taillight Clinic With Community ID Drive

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Two Gainesville groups are teaming up this weekend to help local residents avoid potential legal troubles.

The Human Rights Coalition (HRC) of Alachua County is hosting a Community ID Drive at Highlands Presbyterian Church Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The ID drive, first established in October, is designed to help Gainesville residents who have difficulty securing proper government-issued identifications.

Reverend Larry Green, a pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church United and organizer for the HRC, said some of the target groups for this event include homeless people, minorities and members of the LGBT community.

The identification cards, which are not a substitute for driver’s licences and voter registrations, will be accepted by some public schools, libraries, utility companies and other government agencies in Gainesville.

Central Florida Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will also be on hand to change broken brake lights as part of the chapter’s second Free Brake Light Clinic of 2018.

“This is an additional service being provided to the ID drive, so we can make sure cars are in working condition,” Green said. 

The replacement bulbs will be free for drivers, as the event will be funded by previous donations made to the Central Florida chapter.

The goal of both the HRC and the DSA is to limit the potential for conflict between residents and law enforcement.

Gainesville Police Department’s Captain Jorge Campos acknowledged that broken taillights and headlights are common reasons for traffic stops. He noted that drivers can be fined up to $109 for a broken taillight under state chapter 316.

Members of the DSA reference the death of Walter Scott as reinforcement for hosting brake light clinics across the country. Scott, a black resident of South Carolina, was shot and killed by a police officer in 2015 after being pulled over for a broken taillight.

Roxanne Palmer, a Central Florida DSA officer and brake light clinic volunteer, said anyone — regardless of political affiliation — can come to the clinic to have a brake light bulb replaced.

More than 180 people signed up for ID cards during the first ID drive, according to Green, but both the HRC and Central Florida DSA are hoping for a larger turnout this Saturday.

“The nice thing with this clinic is that partnering with the ID drive will make it more available to a lot of people that we feel are going benefit the most from this,” Palmer said.

About Sean Doty

Sean is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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