Around 50 people stood on the steps of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office headquarters Sunday to protest after a widely circulated video appeared to show the beating of a man in police custody on Friday. The man, Le’Keian Woods, had been arrested following a traffic stop in the San Jose neighborhood.
In the video taken by an onlooker, which Jacksonville Today has viewed, a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office employee can be seen kicking at Woods while he is seated on the ground and handcuffed. At another point in the video, three officers are on top of Woods as he lies face down and one appears to slam his head into the ground.
Le’Keian Woods’ mother, Natassia Woods, stood with protesters outside JSO headquarters on Sunday, holding a picture of her 24-year-old son and his infant child.
“I just want answers for my son,” Woods said. “I just want justice for my son. Nobody should be able to be beaten like that and get away with it. You don’t beat dogs like that. If you beat dogs like that, you’re going to jail.”
Broderick Taylor, an attorney representing Woods, said his traffic stop began over an unfastened seat belt for someone in the vehicle.
Taylor says a judge found there was not probable cause for two of the six charges against Woods: a cocaine trafficking charge and attempting to alter, conceal or remove records and/or physical evidence.
Woods faces four other charges: possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, amphetamine trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and resisting an officer with violence. He is being held in the Duval County Jail on a violation of probation charge stemming from a February 2022 sentencing for robbery in Leon County.
In a statement Saturday morning, JSO acknowledged using force to take a person into custody.
“The agency takes all allegations of inappropriate use of force by JSO officers seriously. As such, this incident is now under administrative review to determine if the involved officers violated any JSO policy. Because the matter is currently under investigation, the agency cannot comment further about the incident until the investigation is completed,” the statement to reporters read.
Taylor, Woods’ attorney, described the officer’s actions as “brutality.”
“He couldn’t come to court on Saturday because he was in medical,” Taylor said. “He couldn’t come to court again (Sunday) because he was, again, in medical. We need a full, transparent, open investigation. And, we want the body camera. We want to see all the footage to see what led up to this.”
Sheriff T.K. Waters in a new conference on Saturday said JSO will release the body camera footage.
Sunday’s demonstrators had four requests for Waters: Disband JSO’s Gang Unit, instate a public safety oversight committee, instate an “anti-racist” task force, and remove and charge any officers who acted inappropriately in Woods’ arrest.
Natassia Woods said, “I want badges and I want jobs.”