Florida state senator to publicly apologize for racial slurs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida state senator is expected to apologize publicly for using racial slurs and insults in a private after-hours conversation with African-American colleagues.

Senate President Joe Negron said that Miami-area Republican Sen. Frank Artiles has asked to formally apologize Wednesday on the Senate floor to Sen. Audrey Gibson.

News outlets report that Artiles used a variation of the “n-word” in the conversation at Tallahassee’s Governor’s Club with Democratic Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale. They said Artiles also used obscene and belittling language directed at them in the Monday night conversation.

While Artiles apologized on Tuesday, some Democrats began demanding his resignation once news about the incident began to emerge.

In his own statement Negron said he was “appalled” about the comment.


PIERSON, Fla. (AP) — A volleyball coach at a Florida middle school was arrested on charges he sexually molested a 14-year-old male student.

Deputies say arrested Keyunta Murphy Tuesday on charges of lewd and lascivious battery, using a computer to lure a child and unlawful use of a communication device.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office says the coach at T. Dewitt Taylor Middle-High School in Pierson was arrested after the boy’s mother alerted authorities that her son said he had been the sexually molested.

The boy told authorities that Murphy asked him during class Monday to come to the office with him.

Authorities say instead the coach took the boy to a gym bathroom and molested him.

Murphy was in jail Tuesday morning and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Court records showed no attorney.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Investigators have arrested a 25-year-old worker at a Florida day care center on child pornography charges.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a news release Tuesday that Justin Dwayne Cross faces 20 counts of possession and transmission of child pornography.

The news release says Cross worked at Child Care in Brandon, which is a suburb of Tampa on Florida’s west coast. He had previously worked at a La Petite Academy in nearby Riverview.

The investigation began after agents received tips Cross was distributing child porn. Investigators say he shared images in chat rooms and through different websites between September 2016 and January 2017.

A number of agencies assisted FDLE in the investigation.

An attorney for Cross is not listed on jail records.