The Southern Poverty Law Center is denouncing the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for having “dragged and detained” a 72-year-old man with well-known mobility issues.
Activist Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville was met with official force Tuesday night at the City Council meeting, as he again denounced the confederate monuments that have loomed over parts of Jacksonville since the Jim Crow era. He was arrested and released from jail hours later,
In an extended statement, interim legal counsel Bacardi Jackson slammed JSO and Council President Terrance Freeman for “gross overreaction.”
“The Southern Poverty Law Center strongly condemns the medically harmful handling of Ben Frazier — a 72-year-old community activist who uses a mobility-assistance device — for simply exceeding a reduced, 1 minute, 5 seconds, public comment time limit,” Jackson contended.
“These actions are reminiscent of the civil rights movement, where peaceful, nonviolent protests were met with aggression, open hostility and jail time at the hands of law enforcement. Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman’s order to have Mr. Frazier removed was a gross overreaction to a citizen who has been protesting the removal of the Women of the Southland monument from Springfield Park for several years,” Jackson added.
This was Frazier’s second arrest at a Jacksonville event in 2022. He was detained in January for showing up to a Gov. Ron DeSantis press conference without permission from the Governor’s Office.
And he says he could go to jail yet again.
“If it means more jail time to get confederate monuments removed, then so be it. It is my intent to fight with every ounce of energy and breath in my body until the monuments are removed,” he said to Action News Jax.
Frazier was arrested for breaking one of the most strictly enforced “Council rules,” as described vividly by Nate Monroe in the Florida Times-Union:
“Yet for the sin of speaking too loudly and for exceeding the miserly 65 seconds the council had allotted public speakers on Tuesday night, Frazier was arrested — and arrested clumsily. The police first forced him to the ground then hauled him out the building as his legs sometimes dangled, even though the scooter he uses to get around, the scooter everyone who attends City Council meetings knows well he needs, sat right next to the dais the entire time,” Monroe observed.
The SPLC reaction to Frazier’s detainment is the second reaction in recent days to focus in on the confederate monument issue. The local branch of the NAACP warned Thursday that the standing monuments “present a severe and growing threat to public safety if protesters attempt to take down confederate statues themselves or confront others who are doing so.”
The monuments in question are a statue commemorating the women of the confederacy at Springfield Park, formerly known as Confederate Park, and a bandstand at the old city cemetery.
Voices in favor of the monuments have had their say with less incident than Frazier, which may reflect a pro-confederate monument disposition of the City Council itself, which has rebuffed efforts from Mayor Lenny Curry and Councilman Matt Carlucci to formulate a plan for removal of the controversial Springfield edifice for years now.
Jacksonville made news the week before, when the Save Southern Heritage group flew a plane with a confederate battle flag over Downtown Jacksonville, admonishing Curry to “stop the hate.” That was the second such flight the group commissioned, and it was on a day when a bullet hole was found in a window of an office in Curry’s suite at City Hall.
December 16, 2022 at 4:05 pm
good for you
December 16, 2022 at 4:06 pm
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December 16, 2022 at 4:13 pm
If the SPLC says it, I have a really hard time believing it!
The SPLC has become modern extortionists. They may have stood for liberty in the past, but they are deeply corrupt today.
Ben planned it all
December 16, 2022 at 6:15 pm
This was a planned stunt by Ben Frazier. He had his photographer present, near him when he fell to the ground, yes, fell to the ground. I was right near him sitting down. I watch the whole temper tantrum. The police were gentle with Ben Frazier, Frazier continued to fight them. Now the NAACP is provoking violence/vandalism to the monuments. The WOKE have to be stopped.
December 17, 2022 at 5:35 am
Put him in the old Confederate jail. Also read “Robert E Lee on Leadership “…and CH (BG) Jones book, “Crisis in the Camp.”
What does Hosea 4:6 say? GREAT wisdom!
December 17, 2022 at 5:30 pm
In some countries he would not be allowed to speak. He was treated with kid gloves. There is a video. I suggest that the SPLC help pay for his bail if there is one.
December 17, 2022 at 9:31 pm
Cry Baby Ben is the racist. He is always preaching Black this Black that. He is a want to be Jesse Jackson. He is only using this controversy to get his name in the papers..
PS.. This convicted felon and dis-barred lawyer is NOT from Jacksonville
December 17, 2022 at 10:26 pm
Old man Frazier thinks he is above the law but wants the other people to go by the law…very typical of someone trying their hardest to be in the news..put him in jail for a few weeks..if he was so frail that he has to use tge scooter then he should follow the RULES..
cassandra of the swamp
December 18, 2022 at 3:24 pm
Of course Frazier was pleased to be “dragged and detained”. The police did as predicted, almost as if he’d paid them for that ride to jail!
The serious problem here is the government’s use of armed police against citizens to enforce its unreasonable abridgement of Free Speech and protest rights. 65 seconds is not enough time for people to speak before the government. City residents should have input on meeting length, and the Council needs to start their meetings earlier and/or stay later to accommodate all who wish to speak.
Agree with Frazier’s demands or not, it is important that some people are willing to be disobedient when Constitutional Rights are being trampled on by the government. It’s far more useful than shouting Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! from the sidelines.
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