The families of murder victims held a news conference with guest speakers on March 22nd outside Orlando Police headquarters. They were there to express their frustration as people of color with their basic needs not being met through the current process.
The news conference is a timely one, considering the state is currently considering expanded rights for crime victims through a possible constitutional amendment entitled Marsy’s Law.
Over a dozen murder victims’ families were in attendance at the event, as well as a mental health professional to help explain how their needs aren’t being met and why that is such an important issue that needs to be addressed. Change is needed, considering many of these families are not updated on case information or progress.
Those that participated are members of local victims’ support groups, including Let Your Voice Be Heard Inc., Beautiful Safe Beginnings, and Men of Purpose. A few people chose to speak including those who have lost family members to murder in the Orlando area, a mental health professional, and a member of one of the groups that participated.
While they spoke, the victims’ families stood behind the podium and in front of OPD headquarters. Each family held a framed picture of their loved one lost to murder.
They asked the Orlando Police Department for an official meeting to hear about the families of those left behind, and the needs left in the wake of violence. They also want to express concerns about how the Orlando Police Department has interacted with communities of color, and to work together through communication going forward in the future.
“When we talk about helping victims, we do a great injustice to many if we focus exclusively on their experiences with the offender and the criminal justice system,” said Miles Mulrain, one of the organizers of the event. “Proposals like Marsy’s law, or the use of the death penalty, often claim to serve the needs of victims. But the reality is that victims have many needs independent of the offender and the courts. Those needs are almost never addressed. These include access to resources like counseling for traumatized families and communication and transparency with local police departments.”