Fort Myers community demands change from city leaders, police department

FORT MYERS, Fla. Tensions rose at a public forum Wednesday night addressing the number of unsolved homicides within the city.

The mothers of some of the murder victims stepped up to the front of Dunbar High School’s auditorium to voice their concerns to city officials about the lack of evidence in each case. Many of them blamed the officials for not doing enough.

These mothers were seeking a resolution and an apology.

“I feel like we still didn’t get our apology because a simple ‘I’m sorry’ would suffice,” citizen Crystal Johnson said. “We have a real problem over here and no one seems to want to assist us with solutions. They still want to blame us.”

However, Mayor Randy Henderson doesn’t believe an apology is necessary to move forward.

“I don’t think an apology solves anything. This council and the people who are in charge now produced the Freeh report,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense that we would apologize.”

While Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs admitted the division between the community and the police department is greater than he anticipated, he wants to focus on following the recommendations listed in the Freeh report by changing the way the department conducts investigations.

The report, which was released in February, highlights alleged corruption within the department, as well as a lack of leadership and proper resources to effectively handle crime within the community.

But despite the evident frustration, many community members are willing to improve their relationship with police, but demand the department must first acknowledge their wrongdoing.

Reporter:Kelsey Kushner