December 27, 2021, FLCGA Press Release

The ACLU of Florida met with Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor about concerns the group had about a report by the Florida Center For Government Accountability on two recent cases handled by Pryor’s office.

The FLCGA article, published by the Florida Bulldog on December 9, revealed that Pryor’s office cut a plea deal with a police officer who’d misappropriated thousands of dollars in charity funds to drop felony charges against him, keep him out of prison, and likely save his public pension. The officer, Jeffrey Stewart, was represented by an influential local attorney who supported Pryor’s campaign and served on the state attorney’s election transition team.

In the second case, Pryor’s office recommended nearly four years in prison for a financially disadvantaged 23-year-old Black woman named Destiny Williams who’d given birth to her firstborn, a daughter, while in custody for violating probation.

ACLU policy strategist Neisha-Rose Hines said both cases were troubling to her organization, which supported Pryor after he ran for office in 2020 on promises of reform, including holding bad police officers accountable and making the system more equitable for “people of color and poor people.” Hines said the organization contacted Pryor with its concerns about both the Jeffrey Stewart and Destiny Williams cases.

“We want to get involved to try to prevent any more cases like Destiny from happening again,” said Hines.

After the FLCGA article was published, Pryor’s office reduced Williams’ prison sentence to 24 months, which after time served will likely result in roughly six additional months in prison for the young mother. Her defense attorney, Bill Gelin, said the reduction in sentence provided the new mother great relief and attributed it to the work of FLCGA and the Bulldog.

Hines said the group was “definitely disappointed” in Pryor’s office and that the group wants to “make sure [Pryor] knows people are watching and holding him accountable for his actions.”

“In the end we essentially have the same goal which is a fairer system,” Hines said.

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The Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to helping enforce open government laws. All donations made to FLCGA are tax deductible. To learn more, visit www.flcga.org. Thank you for your support.