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Gov. Rick Scott wants Jesse Jackson to apologize to Floridians

6:00 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Tallahassee, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott wants an apology from Jesse Jackson.

The governor is displeased with comments from Rev. Jackson, who called Florida 'the Selma of our time' during his visit to the state Capitol on Tuesday.

Jackson compared the ongoing protest of the Dream Defenders at the Capitol to the civil rights movement 50 years ago.

He said Stand Your Ground laws, like Florida's, are similar to rules 50 years ago banning African Americans from using public restrooms, water fountains and beaches.

"This is the Selma of our time. This is a transformative moment for this time," Jackson said. 

Gov. Scott calls Jackson's comments reckless and divisive.

The governor accused Jackson of insulting Floridians and trying to divide the state when it's trying to unite and heal following the George Zimmerman trial.

Rev. Jackson spent the night in the state Capitol with the Dream Defenders and left the building around 7 a.m.

Wednesday was Day 16 of the sit-in and the protesters continued their mock special legislative session.

Members of the Dream Defenders held what they called a committee hearing outside Gov. Scott's office to talk about Florida's so-called school-to-prison pipeline.

They said zero-tolerance school policies are sending too many students, most of them young black men, into the criminal justice system for minor infractions.

Alana Greer of the Advancement Project said nearly 14,000 students were arrested at Florida schools last year for such offenses as talking back to a teacher and refusing to go to the principal's office.

"Over 67 percent of all of these offenses that students are being arrested for are for minor misbehaviors and misdemeanors. Instead of investing in our young people and funneling them into college and careers, we're pushing them out of school and into the prison system."

Greer also said there were more than 225,000 school suspensions in Florida last year.

She said too often the students aren't able to catch up with their schoolwork and they end up dropping out of school.

The Dream Defenders hired a court reporter to transcribe their hearings. They believe the information will help state lawmakers if they decide to focus on the issue at some point.

The protesters plan to hold two more days of mock hearings on Florida's Stand Your Ground law and racial profiling.

Dave Heller

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