Daily Commerical by Katie Sartoris and Roxanne Brown
June 16, 2020
TAVARES – The statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith may not darken the doors of the Lake County Historical Museum after all.
Lake County Commission Chairman Leslie Campione on Tuesday suggested the board write a letter to ask Gov. Ron DeSantis and the secretary of state to reopen the statue selection committee. The move was an about-face from the board, which voted 3-2 last summer to support the statue’s inclusion in the partially county-funded museum.
Campione was among the majority.
“I believe that this entire situation has created unnecessary division and strife in our community and I know that it’s harmed my relationship with some of my friends in the Black community and residents in the Black community,” Campione said. “My prayer is that this harm isn’t irreparable. We can come together with one voice and we can make this request to the governor and secretary of state and if necessary, the Florida Legislature.”
The decision comes on the heels of nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he died. Three other officers watched. The interaction was caught on camera, swept through social media and spurred demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism all across the country.
Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The other officers were charged with aiding and abetting. All were fired.