Kelly Benjamin Being Mistaken For A Cop
On July 31, longtime CL contributor and activist-journalist Kelly Benjamin found himself walking with protesters who were marching in and around Tampa’s Riverbend neighborhood as part of a demonstration at Mayor Jane Castor’s house. Benjamin, a two-time City Council candidate who’s faced off with Charlie Miranda and Rose Ferlita, had just shaved his mustache, which might have contributed to what happened next, but someone asked Kelly if he was a cop. Benjamin was arrested at the 2008 RNC (charges were dropped, but his civil rights were violated). Police shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet during a protest at the Free Trade Area of the America's meeting Miami in 2003. The Chamberlain High grad even won a WMNF Peace Award and helped co-found 87X, a low-powered late-90s radio station in Ybor City. He’s also been a longtime member of the fight to create a Community Review Board with investigatory powers and other privileges that give the CRB true independence and teeth. Benjamin wasn’t phased by being mislabeled as a cop, but the moment provided a little levity during a movement that’s been an uphill battle for protesters who’ve been on the street since May. —Ray Roa
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