Latin community leaders speak out on nationwide unrest

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For many, the recent deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police are a breaking point in dealing with police brutality and racial inequality.

The national protests that are still happening resonate with many in the Hispanic community.
News Channel 8’s David Espinosa Hall sat down with local leaders to get their perspective of what they’re seeing and the changes they want to see.

“Injustice it is painful,” says Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay President Diane Cortes. “It puts us in a situation that we don’t know who to trust anymore. Police should take care of the community and right now we are seeing that there is no control.”

Trust is something Cortes wants to see rebuilt between police and minority communities. She says the police in-custody deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks have galvanized people to protest against police brutality and racism.

“I do know that the Hispanic community is supporting George Floyd in terms of making justice,” she said. “Not in terms of destroying and not in terms of hurting our businesses…and hurting our economy.”

“The Latin community has suffered the same way as George Floyd but it hasn’t come to light as it has right now,” Cortes added.

Cortes tells News Channel 8 more wholesale change is needed in policing. She wants officers to have more diversity education and training. She also wants more funding for community policing.

“We want to see results, we want to see a reform that really works for the people and not for the system,” she said. “It has to work for both ways. They are here to serve and protect and we expect for our leaders to protect the community.”

Next month, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister will speak at the next chamber luncheon. The discussion will focus on law enforcement being more open and honest with the community and racial equality.

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