TALAHASSEE, FL The safety of the community is TPD’s No. 1 priority. Yesterday, Aug. 29, in line with their training, officers quickly de-escalated a tense situation that could have turned into tragedy.
A local group hosted a non-permitted protest on downtown streets. 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. 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.
During the protest, a white male entered the crowd and began documenting the protest. 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 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 below. 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 have been applied to 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.