Orange County Democratic Chair: ‘If it takes broken glass’
Wes Hodge, left, and his predecessor as Orange County Democratic Chair, Juan Lopez .

Wes Hodge and Juan Lopez Orange County Democrats
Democratic Chair Wes Hodge said civil unrest brings about change.

Orange County Democratic Party Chair Wes Hodge is drawing strong reactions for a Facebook exchange he had with a prominent Central Florida Republican over whether it is OK for demonstrators to resort to vandalism.

“If it takes a little broken glass to prevent another black man from losing his life, then break the damn glass,” Hodge replied to Randy Ross Tuesday. “Glass can be replaced.”

Orange County Republicans, including Ross, are calling Hodge out Wednesday, accusing him of advocating lawlessness and violence.

Hodge is standing by, although clarifying, his declaration. He insisted he does not and has not advocated any violence against people, or looting. But he said the notion that protests need to be entirely peaceful mischaracterizes both the protests’ underlying anger and frustration, and the history of civil unrest being a real agent for real change.

Hodge’s Facebook comments came prior to yet another Orlando demonstration Tuesday night that resulted in protesters hurling rocks, bottles, and at least one brick at police, who responded with tear gas, according to Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon. Protesters had gathered at Orlando City Hall to express anguish over the death of George Floyd under the knees of Minneapolis police last week, and to demand meaningful changes in criminal justice. Hodge did not attend the Orlando protest.

And his response comments came before Rolon and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, during a Wednesday afternoon news conference, called for peaceful protests and and decried the violence experienced Tuesday night.

“The sentiment of, ‘Peaceful and calm is good’ is very frustrating because no major Civil Rights advances have happened without some civil unrest,” Hodge said. “I think that we’ve reached the point where, rightfully so, the community, is asking, when is this going to be enough to bring real changes? George Floyd is just the most recent name, and probably not the last name, in a long line of unarmed black men killed by the police. And when is it going to be enough?

“If it takes a broken piece of glass to save a black man’s life, then so be it,” Hodge added. “You know, LGBT rights were started by a riot in Stonewall. Women got the right to vote by marching and protesting 100 years ago. This is not anything new for our country.”

Republicans, including Orange County Republican Chair Charles Hart, charged Hodge Wednesday with advocating that Orlando protesters follow the leads of those in New York and elsewhere, where broken windows lead to looting, fires, and violence against police and others.

“It’s always great to see that our counterpart at the Democratic Party wants to incite violence,” said Orange County Republican Executive Director Joel Hawksley.

Ross said he fears that when leaders like Hodge advocate vandalism that it can be taken by protesters as permission to escalate.

“I’m totally in support of the protests. I don’t think we should at all be suggesting any type of violence being OK. A little glass turns into a lot of glass. And before you know it you have a situation where things are out of control,” Ross said.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


6 comments

  • Cogent Observer

    June 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Spoken like a true idiot–grammar and all.

  • Ron

    June 3, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    And how does looting and burning a small business advance racial harmony? So what are the Democrats going to do next, put a human life on one side of the balance and pile the broken glass, burnt timbers, injured and killed police in other and then try to litigate the “equality”?

  • John Kociuba

    June 3, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    West Hodge is a Communist. Communism doesn’t believe in humanity or the human soul. A human being is an asset of the state to be used, traded, or destroyed.

    Furthermore Wes Hodge is well aware police officers were murdered. Innocent citizens were murdered. Never forget the only thing stopping the Communist mobs from entering your home is STAND YOUR GROUND LAW & 2ND AMENDMENT GOD GIVEN RIGHTS!

    If you see a Communist dying of thirst in a desert, say a prayer, and shove sand in their mouth!

    Banned.video

  • DENNIS O. FREYTES

    June 4, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    **Justice for ALL in a Court of Law; NOT by Protest-MOB Rule or Kangaroo Court!**
    Dr. ML KING, changed the World, with non-violence; peaceful Protest-— I have a Dream…
    “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds…”

    Be FAIR-Peaceful! Not all are Guilty for the Crime of one! Plus, recognize that advances have been made, as we make things even better! All four Police Officers that participated in the murder of George Floyd, were condemned by all; arrested! Now, it is time to let the Justice System (with due process) do its job; not have more Victims of Violence! Any Suspect of a crime, should not be tried by a Protest (of all colors) that harbors violence (including “Domestic Terrorists” or Looters committing crimes and mayhem that destroy or deface property or murder innocent People! Thus, what is the rational for the Protests that harbor Violence to continue that, now, cause more harm than good?

    Supporting, covering up or excusing Violence– that affects innocent People– is WRONG! But, Protestors should provide their Government a reasonable and constructive List of suggestions to make things better. As the Government (all levels) must listen; take action against institutional inequality-discrimination-racism (like establish a coordinated “Commission on Peace, and Equality” at all Levels-Federal-State-Local to provide recommendations to make the current Equality and Criminal Laws, in the Books, better; strive to fix institutional inequality–even if it means a “WE THE PEOPLE” EQUALITY amendment to our noble US Constitution—imperfect, but, the best in the annals of Human History!

    Law Enforcement Officers and National Guard must properly maintain ORDER; should never retreat or surrender to violent Mobs or Domestic Terrorists (or ANTIFA led evil Anarchists)! As we put things in proper weighted context; don’t believe in false conspiracy theories; don’t generalize or stereotype, but let the Justice System prevail for any Crimes committed; use the peaceful Power of the Vote to get things done, but, respect our US Republic (a Government for/by the People); “WE THE PEOPLE” US Constitution with a Representative Democracy system! Today, the Victim must have Justice (with due process)! We must not be fanatical, or use politically distorted or violent strategy or tactics to gain an end! But, be responsible and peaceful! Evolution builds; Revolution destroys!

    The States and Cities where those businesses were burned or property destroyed, didn’t do their sacred duty to Serve and Protect…; didn’t deploy Law Enforcement properly… Thus, they must PAY the innocent VICTIMS for destroyed property!

    Also, we must look at the roots of the Equality-Discrimination issue–not only for Blacks, but, also for Puerto Ricans, Chinese, and Other US Citizens-American Veterans that face Federal discrimination or inequality! Ensure no mal interpretation of our US Constitution’s “We the People Equality Clause—which happens today by the Federal Government as it commits discrimination against millions of Blacks, Women, and other 2d Class US Citizens in the US Territory of Puerto Rico… EQUALITY FOR ALL!

    Plus, don’t GENERALIZE or distort or make political hay with a Tragedy! All must work together with truth, reason, courage, and Civic Action for the Good of ALL! NOT take it out against innocent Police or People! The grand majority of Law enforcement are good professionals that risk their lives to protect us!! These should not be scorned or attacked; but, respected and loved!

    WE ALL can take a knee in Prayer for Justice and Equality! But, not when our UNITED STATES FLAG is being honored! Any disrespect to our US Flag (that represents all “WE THE PEOPLE” and the State or Territory where they reside)–is WRONG–UN-AMERICAN!

    Two wrongs don’t make a RIGHT! Support JUSTICE-EQUALITY; end violent “Domestic Terrorism” and those that fund and support it! Anyone that supports or incites violent rules Mob protest or Domestic Terrorists is an accessory to a Crime! NO EXCUSE ACCEPTED!

    DO RIGHT! Let REASON; JUSTICE; EQUALITY prevail, NOT Anarchy-Mayhem or political distortion (overtly o covertly) that contributes to innocent death and destruction! We must ensure EQUALITY for ALL—includes Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Others; STOP Violence! UNITE with Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action for the Good of ALL!
    xxx
    Dennis O. Freytes— Community Servant Leader
    Florida Veterans Hall of Fame (by Florida Governor; House; Senate)
    XXX
    Injustice is not Justice! Support Justice for ALL, not just for some! Let our just Constitutional Laws–REASON prevail!

  • Conservative First

    June 4, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    So the new political slogan of the Democrat Party is #lootinggood and #defundthepolice – good luck with that.

  • Edith

    June 6, 2020 at 12:39 am

    I have asked both Democrats and Republicans and not one person thinks this will advance the cause of black equality. The reality is more whites are killed by police than blacks even though more crimes are committed by blacks (as a percentage of the population.). These large, intimidating masses of people are meant to intimidate those that are not marching with them. Instead of intimidating people, it causes great resentment. Quite sad really.

Comments are closed.


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