Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey is pleading with Gov. Ron DeSantis to activate the Florida National Guard before potentially violent protests over the weekend.
Dailey’s plea comes after federal authorities arrested an Army veteran who planned to confine protesters at the Florida Capitol Complex using firearms. He encouraged others to join him via social media.
Notably, the Florida National Guard on Thursday said DeSantis had yet to activate state troops despite FBI warnings of civil unrest at state capitols nationwide.
Meanwhile, roughly 600 Florida National Guardsmen are en route to Washington, D.C. to assist with President-elect Joe Biden‘s inauguration.
“Governor DeSantis, on behalf of residents and law enforcement in the Capital City, I am asking you to do what only you have the power to do,” Dailey said. “Call up and deploy Florida’s National Guard troops now.”
Federal, state and local authorities are on high alert after the FBI issued a memo earlier this week warning that armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols and Washington D.C.
Social media posts suggest the Army veteran and Tallahassee resident, Daniel Baker, planned to violently disrupt any Florida protests between now and Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
It is unclear what direct threats the Florida Capitol Complex may face. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, however, issued a statement shortly after Dailey’s press conference.
“We are aware of the information regarding possible protests and violence at state capitols,” the state police agency tweeted. “FDLE and Capitol Police continue to monitor the national situation in collaboration with our federal, state and local partners to implement security measures that enhance public safety at the Capitol.”
Law enforcement on Thursday decided to temporarily close the Leon County Courthouse and Tallahassee City Hall on Jan. 19 and 20 out of “an abundance of caution.”
Both buildings are located within a block of the Capitol Complex.
Authorities are encouraging residents to report suspicious activity by calling 1-800-FLA-SAFE.