Pickup truck mows through protesters in Tallahassee
A woman speaks to fellow protestors on the steps of the Tallahassee Police Department on Friday. Photo by Jason Delgado.

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The protest grabbed the attention of local leaders.

Protesters took to the streets of Tallahassee on Saturday after the local death of a black man accentuated other fatal police incidents across the country.

Tony McDade, 38, was fatally shot Wednesday by a white Tallahassee police officer after he stabbed his next-door neighbor, 21-year-old Malik Jackson, and allegedly pointed his gun at an officer.

No charges have been filed against the officer and at a news conference, Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said the shooting appeared justified and not motivated by race.

The city’s response has outraged some members of the community.

“Nobody has been held accountable in the past,” said protester Sarah Turner. “This system needs to be fixed so more black people don’t die in the streets.”

The generally peaceful protest, which stretched several miles from the Tallahassee Police Department to the Florida Capitol Building, was underscored early Saturday when a pickup truck accelerated into protesters.

Tallahassee Police Department Deputy Chief of Police Maurice Holmes declined to comment on the incident but Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey later tweeted that the driver was in police custody and no one was seriously injured.

Despite the incident, protesters continued their march, traveling back and forth from the police department to the state Capitol, where they staged a sit-in at the center of one of the city’s busiest intersections and demanded local officials to meet them.

“People are upset right now and understandably so,” Holmes said. “The last thing we need to do is cause an uprising by trying to say you can’t do this and you can’t do that. We think it’s easiest for us to just shut down the road and reroute traffic because if you do that, give them that voice, things won’t escalate, we’re hoping.”

Tallahassee Vice Mayor Dianne Williams-Cox was the first local leader to meet with protesters.

“I want them to know that I hear them, we hear them and we understand,” Williams-Cox said. “It takes time to investigate. We have to give the process time.”

Williams-Cox said she sympathizes with protesters as she has felt the need to protest perceived injustices in the past.

“I appreciate their right to protest, Williams-Cox said. “I used to do it myself and I still do if I need to, so I understand. But we got to be lawful, patient and be considerate of the process so we don’t make a mistake. He’s not going anywhere, he’s going to be right here.”

Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad and other city commissioners also met with some remaining protesters later in the evening.

Goad said the peacefulness of the protest serves as a “testament of our community” and reassured protesters that “they are not going unheard.”

“We realize, nationally, how fragile we are as a country right now,” Goad said. “Oftentimes our perspective is only from our point of view and so I think the conversation we just had was important. Lots of listening and hearing different thoughts and concerns.”

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


7 comments

  • Nick Whitehead

    May 30, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    I’m thankful that this protest against the daily murders of Americans by the police has apparently ended peacefully and that no one was injured when one of Donald Trump’s “very good people” tried to turn the protest into a Charlottesville redux . I am a 54 y/o white male from a Florida hick town and a lifelong Republican. The police in America have completely lost my support. As I watch the video from protest across the country if is clear that all of the violence directed at human being has come from the police, not the protesters or the mythic “outside agitators”. The protesters have protected journalist, children and bystanders. I’ve witnessed the police beat protesters and bystanders and one officer shoot at a journalist and a cameraman with a long gun at short range. When the police start losing the support of old white Republicans you know they have lost their way. After all the primary purpose of law enforcement is to preserve powers in the hands of those who hold it.

    • gary

      May 31, 2020 at 2:53 am

      You simply ignorant! Sit back, and wait for the truth hick!

    • DisplacedCTYankee

      May 31, 2020 at 7:12 am

      Nick: Come on over to our side! I am a 71-year-old white man and a life-long Democrat. And a socialist. I was “turned” for good when I was 19 and saw on TV Chicago cops beating protesters at the 1968 Dem national convention. I was a college senior in May 1970 when Ohio Guard were playing with their guns on the Kent State campus and left four kids dead. I sure hope that the year 2020 will radicalize young people in a way that 1968, sadly, did not radicalize more of my generation.

    • RAP

      May 31, 2020 at 9:33 am

      Apparently you don’t watch the news much or maybe just CNN. A Fox news crew was threatened and attacked by protesters outside of the White House just a couple days ago. You are drinking the left’s kool-aid.

      • Nick Whitehead

        June 1, 2020 at 6:05 am

        Fox “News” is not actually news at all.  It is a series of opinion rants by actors that know little about what they talking about.  Fox is so full of misinformation that its viewers are less knowledgeable about current events than people who consume news any other way and even less informed than those who consume no news at all.  https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/study-watching-fox-news-actually-makes-you-stupid-235770/  

  • R A P

    May 31, 2020 at 9:29 am

    How about a little less leftist spin on the headline? The report says the truck went through at a very low rate of speed and no one was injured. Charlottesville? Really?? How about charging the protesters with obstructing traffic? How does anyone know what political affiliation the driver had? What if it was an emergency and he/she was trying to get to a doctor? Did the protesters have a permit? And what about the recommendation/requirements of no more that 10 people gathering to avoid spread of the corona virus? Lots of questions and very little in the article except pro-leftist propaganda.

    • RSP

      May 31, 2020 at 11:31 pm

      YOU are part of the problem a-hole!

Comments are closed.


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