Tavares – Groveland Four family members, along with state and regional dignitaries, gathered this morning with the community in front of the Lake County Historic Courthouse for the dedication of the Groveland Four Monument.
The monument honors the four men known collectively as the Groveland Four – Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas – who, in 1949, were wrongfully accused of crimes in Groveland, Florida. In January 2019, the men were posthumously pardoned by the Florida Clemency Board, which noted that their convictions and treatment were a "miscarriage of justice."
"This has been a long journey for so many, and I thank each person who played a role in bringing us to this place where we can stand together in solidarity with the families of these four men," said Lake County Commission Chairman Leslie Campione, who led today’s event. "This monument will serve as a landmark in Lake County that symbolizes our resolve to ensure that our institutions are just and that we provide due process and equal protection under the law."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attended and spoke at the event, noting the importance of the pardon and his determination to act quickly after taking office. "I believed that issuing the pardon was the right thing to do," said Gov. DeSantis, "and I do think that it brought justice to the historical record. And so this monument here today will further serve as recognition of the miscarriage of justice that occurred in this case and will represent proof of Lake County’s commitment for equal justice and a commitment to do better going forward."