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Activists want charges dropped against woman who says she shot officer in self-defense amid raid

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Activists are calling for charges against Diamonds Ford to be dropped, arguing the Florida woman fired on a police officer last year in self-defense.

Community activists rallied outside the Duval County Clerk of Courts along with Ford and her defense attorney on Monday to pressure State Attorney Melissa Nelson (R) to drop charges against Ford stemming from a raid on her residence, according to local media.

They also pushed for the abolishment of the use of what they referred to as “no-knock” warrants in light of details of the case and accused the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office of systemic racism, the outlets also report.

Ford, 28, faces an attempted murder of an officer charge stemming from a raid SWAT officers carried out on her residence in September. Her residence had reportedly been targeted by law enforcement under a larger narcotics operation. 

Ford reportedly claimed that she and her fiancé, Anthony Gantt, 28, were sleeping when officers arrived at her home.

She claims she fired on an officer thinking they were an intruder. She then reportedly called 911, and says she didn’t learn police were entering the home until later.

Ford could be heard pleading for help from local police at the start of the call

“Someone’s shooting,” Ford said. 

Seconds later, the operator asks Ford if she knows who’s shooting before she eventually says, “Wait, that’s the Sheriff’s Office?”

According to the AP, Ford turned herself in shortly after she said she realized it was police at her home.

Police say they announced their presence by using a loudspeaker before the raid. The local sheriff’s office also told The Florida Times-Union that officers are required by the agency to “announce their presence, display their badges and insignia that identify them as law enforcement, and advise they have a search warrant for the premises.”

Ford was arrested and jailed after the raid. In addition to the attempted murder charge, she faces charges of armed possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Gantt reportedly faces the same charges.

According to News 4 Jax, Ford was released last week from jail after her lawyer and activists worked to raise more than a half-million dollars to pay for her bond, which had reportedly sat at more than $530,000.

Gant remains jailed, according to the AP, with a $350,000 bond.

Dignity Power, The National Bail Fund Network and The Minnesota Freedom Fund are among a number of groups that worked to raise money to help pay Ford’s bond.

“You don’t allow Black women to protect themselves. So we are here to ask you to protect Black women,” Tray Johns, who serves as the executive director of Dignity Power, said in a statement to the AP.

“We drove from all over the country and in six days we raised over half a million dollars for a Black woman,” Johns continued, adding: “Dignity Power is going to stand here, and we’re going to protect her with our very lives.”

The Hill has reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for a copy of the report. 

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