1. Archive


"Ask people _ beg people _ to be cool. Stop the violence. There is another way. Let us at least have the chance to try to talk it out and try to resolve some things."

_ Bishop John Copeland, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance

"I don't think they should have burnt down the places 'cause now people will have to go far away to get stuff. They don't have cars."

_ Rosa Martin, 9, Perkins Elementary fourth-grader

"The only thing I'd like to say is our black community should be tired of being harassed."

_ Donshaye Evans, 22, Jordan Park

"When any one of us is diminished, we are all diminished. When any one of us is hurting, we're all hurting."

_ Barbara McCord, co-chair, Congregations United for Community Action

"Disenfranchised, marginalized people are no longer afraid to die. It seems that there are people who are shocked because we thought we had our n-----s under better control and that is the message you hear above all the rest of it. Had those buildings not burned, things would be going on as usual even though someone lost their life."

_ The Rev. Mayjor Mason Walker, Moore's Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

"We're not getting treated right. Everybody's trying to barely hang on. They pay their rent. They pay their light bill. Maybe they pay the water bill. People are struggling here."

_ Mike Drayton, 32, visiting his mother in Jordan Park.

"We need some men in our neighborhoods as role models to these men. There were all teenagers and youngsters. These young people have no kind of teaching at home _ no brothers, no fathers to teach them to be men. They're full of envy and hatred."

_ Dorothy Gilliam, 13th Street Heights Neighborhood Association

"Some said he (TyRon Lewis) wouldn't get out of the car. People say, they let a white man stay in a house for 72 hours with a gun, and they didn't shoot him. It makes you angry. Some police are nice. But there are certain police that's rough with the community."

_ Sharee Hamilton, 40, self-employed, of Pinellas Point.

"This is worse than back in the 60s. That should tell them something _ 1960 to 1996 _ the problems are still here."

_ Lamar Jackson, who surveyed the burned area Friday

"I think that a lot of work will be done today to try to calm the situation down and try to keep it calm. Everybody understands that the weekend is the critical time. Then (we'll) go forward after that to really look at underlying problems."

_ Gov. Lawton Chiles

"I feel a little uncomfortable. I'm a white person. I live on the north side. I know if I had been driving that car, I wouldn't have been shot.

_ The Rev. Kim Wells, Lakewood United Church of Christ and co-chair of Congregations United For Community Action.

"When city officials talk of St. Petersburg, they talk about two St. Petersburgs. When the media talks about St.

Petersburg it talks about two St. Petersburgs. There is St. Petersburg and there is South St. Petersburg. We are residents of St. Petersburg."

_ Rev. Wayne G. Thompson, First Baptist Institutional Church

"Everybody was talking about it in every class. Everybody was really rowdy, we couldn't really have class."

_ Nadia Smith, 15, Lakewood High sophomore

"It's much deeper than the shooting and much deeper than the violence that followed. It's not just one thing. It's the insensitivity of many of the people teaching our children. It's the educational system, and the schools and the parents and the businesses. All these entities really need to focus on the problem."

_ Elder Martin Rainey, St. Petersburg resident and Plant City church pastor

"If he broke the law, then he was wrong. But there was no reason to shoot him in the head. That was done out of hate."

_ Osby Newkirk, 70

"I think it was poor police work. . . . I don't know why they shot the guy, but rioting? What did that solve? He's still dead. Now they've got to spend my tax money to get everything fixed. I'm a

hard-working man. All of this could have been avoided. People need to get themselves together and think before they react."

_ Alex Clark, 24, floor technician and kitchen worker

"They didn't have to kill that boy. If they hadn't done what they did, none of this would have happened."

_ Starlette Clarke, 21, of Jordan Park

"We have made absolutely no progress in the root cause (of racial tension), which is the elimination of racism. There are still people in power, in the Police Department and in the establishment who are racist."

_ Perkins Shelton, civil rights activist

"The separation is so great between black and white in St. Pete that, if anything occurs, black folk will erupt without even asking a question. They won't even ask what happened or, you know, who was culpable. All they know is that a white person was involved, a black person got hurt. That's all they need to know. That's all we need to know."

_ Minister James Muhammad, regional head of the Nation of Islam

"What we need to do is continue to move forward with equity in employment to get African-Americans in positions of authority to work in the community. . . . When you have police officers that are so ill-prepared and ill-trained to apprehend someone in a (speeding) vehicle with deadly force, that's wrong."

_ James O. Simmons, president CEO Pinellas County Urban League

"Everybody sees a disproportionate kind of police response to situations in the black neighborhoods. I wonder why in a routine traffic stop it can take six police officers."

_ Isaiah Taylor

"If my son had just been shot I would probably go off the deep end and accuse anybody of anything. . . . The city has a continuing dialogue with those involved in their neighborhood associations, but there are lots of people we aren't reaching. We don't have that dialog with all the people we need to reach."

_ Bea Griswold, St. Petersburg City Council member

"I took the bus but there weren't many kids. . . . about 13. (Usually it's) 28."

_ Seth Collie, 9, a Perkins Elementary School fourth-grader

"This has been a sore that has been festering for some time and it needed to be lanced. . . . They must listen to what (the black teens) have been trying to tell them over the past year."

_ Sevell Brown, St. Petersburg chapter, Southern Christian Leadership Conference

"What a setback for us. Just when you think things were getting better, then this had to happen. The older people are regretting this. Make sure people know that. It shouldn't have happened."

_ Joe Roberson, of Joe's Barbeque, which shares a wall with the burned Sun Liquors

"Let us pray that the cry for help that came out of that conflict will be heard."

_ Rev. Manuel Sykes, Bethel Community Baptist Church

"If I look on one side, I see the beautiful bay. On the other side, I see all the fires, all the arson. I want to be proud to live in St. Petersburg."

_ Rick Whitaker, of Carter's Florist, which was vandalized Thursday night

"The idea that these business people are going to come out of this in good shape is not true."

_ Rev. Harold Brockus, Good Samaritan Presbyterian Church

"You should focus on how the youth is reacting to all of this. There was a significant portion of the Caucasian population that was absent today."

_ Jason Johnson, Lakewood High School student

"Jobs and housing and neighborhood programs, all the things we thought were going in the right direction, I still think they are. I think they absolutely are. But it's going to take a lot more than that. It's a combination of education, jobs creation, neighborhood environment.

"As a mayor, I've used the word disappointed a number of times, because I really am, with all of the progress we've made, that this would flare up. But I'm just as determined as ever to continue what we're doing, and even do more, so that this won't happen again."

_ St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer

"Does my kid have to be worried about the police killing him? How would you feel if a black cop killed your son and he didn't come home and he didn't even have a gun in his hand?

"Us younger generation. We're not taking any more. Everywhere we go we get harassed. We got to take it in our own hands."

_ Andrea Peterson, 23, with 2-year-old son, Dorian