TPD de-escalates incident at local protest

Special to the Outlook

A group of more than 100 people who protested last Saturday near the Capitol didn’t have a permit for the event that almost turned violent.

The incident that could have turned tragic was quickly de-escalated by officer from the Tallahassee Police Department.

According to a new release from TPD, the local group that hosted the protest didn’t have a permit for the event on downtown streets. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee had sent out notices that it was staging the protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha, Wis., officer.

“With no advance notice to or coordination with TPD to ensure safety, the group gathered and blocked the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway with people and cars,” TPD said in a news release. “Despite not being notified, TPD officers, who were in the area, moved in to stop traffic at the intersection to provide safety for the protest.

No charges were filed against a counter protester who drew a gun during a protest in front the Capitol last Saturday.
Photo by Zachary Schultz from TCAC Facebook page

During the protest, a White male entered the crowd and began documenting the protest, the statement said. TPD’s account of the incident continued: That individual was pushed from behind by a White protester, which led to a physical altercation between the individual and several other White males. During the altercation, the individual was knocked to the ground. He got back to his feet and brandished a gun

TPD said its officers quickly engaged, took the individual into custody and peacefully dispersed the crowd. There were no reported injuries.

Video from several sources were available to review the incident. They can be viewed online. TPD investigators worked with the State Attorney’s Office to review the evidence of the physical altercation. The evidence confirmed the physical altercation between numerous protestors and that the individual was knocked to the ground and under attack before lawfully defending himself. 

TPD confirmed that the individual with the gun was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon as a license holder.

Fortunately, TPD intervened before the altercation escalated. Based on the totality of evidence, no assault charges were filed against any of the individuals involved in the fight or the individual with the gun.

TPD is working to provide safe environments for peaceful protests; just hours earlier in the day, the Florida A&M University football program organized and permitted a peaceful walk to the Old Capitol building.

The walk was held without incident. It was coordinated and planned to provide for safe passage. Impromptu protests do not allow for adequate TPD support and create potentially dangerous conflicts with vehicles and other individuals. To keep everyone involved safe, local protests must be permitted to allow for proper staffing, notifications and safety measures to be put in place. This helps protect both participants and the community at large.

Tensions are very high, and TPD is calling for protests and actions to remain peaceful. Verbal and physical altercations can quickly escalate into tragedy. Everyone must work together to de-escalate conflict.