Charge Dropped Against Man Who Protested Ron DeSantis’ Presser
In SummaryThe 71-year-old Black man was arrested in early January for trespassing before the start of a press briefing conducted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The single charge was dropped against a community organizer in Florida who was arrested in January after he attempted to address Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of a press conference.
Ben Frazier, 71, wanted to protest DeSantis for his poor performance as the governor of Florida at a Jan. 4 press conference in Jacksonville. Frazier said DeSantis was doing a “shoddy job” in response to the pandemic, according to a statement by Jacksonville attorney John Phillips.
“We invite that and suspect a simple meeting could avoid legal action entirely,” Phillips said. “It’s all he wanted all along. These charges were dismissed as quickly as they could have been given the issues of who would actually prosecute this spurious case.”
The single trespassing charge against Frazier was dropped Jan. 21.
On Jan. 4, CBS 4 Miami reported the ordeal began when Frazier, a well-known community organizer, refused to leave the room at the Florida Department of Health-Duval County, citing his First Amendment rights.
“What’s the proper way, sir, not to follow our First Amendment rights? Public expression, sir, it’s critical to our democracy,” Frazier said to an organizer, per CBS 4. “This governor has stood against our rights to protest and to assemble peaceably. It is wrong.”
Frazier went on to call both DeSantis and the organizer who asked him to exit “an enemy of the people.”
He was arrested at the assembly.
“Today’s arrest was a troubling violation of his rights and yet another attack on Floridians’ freedoms from Gov. DeSantis and his team, supposed ‘public servants’ whose salaries are funded directly by taxpayers,” said State Senator Shevrin Jones in defense of Frazier, per CBS 4.