Legislation pending to stop hate speech on Jacksonville buildings
Jax is addressing the problem — finally. Image via Reddit.

Reddit image Jax antisemitism
The bill will be filed on an emergency basis.

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Saturday night playoff victory was not without controversy outside the stadium.

A swastika and a cross were projected on the CSX building downtown, the latest message in a series of white supremacist provocations displayed on local structures during high-profile football games.

Currently, local ordinance lacks a mechanism to impose criminal penalties on responsible parties. But change is coming.

District 13 Republican Rory Diamond said Monday he would sponsor legislation that would impose penalties on parties responsible for messages, including the swastika and the cross projected Saturday night, and similar messages that marred last year’s Florida-Georgia football game held in Jacksonville.

But it turns out Diamond was beaten to the punch, with District 5 Republican LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber set to introduce legislation targeting this “awful antisemitism.”

“To make sure that this does not continue to happen, and businesses are not subjected to this, but most importantly, the Jewish community and this city is not subjected to this just awful antisemitism,” Cumber told Action News Jax on Monday.

Cumber has been drafting the bill since Sunday, and she expects to introduce it on an emergency basis, she told Florida Politics on Tuesday.

The legislation would remedy an apparent gap in local ordinance that has, at least up until now, allowed people to project hate speech with legal impunity.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office has not identified any crimes having been committed; the comments displayed do not include any type of threat and are protected by the First Amendment,” Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer T.N. Dash said in an email to CNN after the incident last October. “We will continue to monitor any reports of this nature to determine if they rise to level of a criminal nature.”

CSX offered a statement condemning the messages displayed on its building.

“The increased acts of antisemitism in Jacksonville are unacceptable. They are an appalling display of intolerance, which sows hatred and undermines our greatest strength — our diversity,” CSX said in a statement to Action News Jax.

While the lack of a local enforcement mechanism has thus far been a sticking point in stopping this activity, new legislation may finally offer recourse to city leaders increasingly frustrated by this troubling trend.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


9 comments

  • Concerned Citizen

    January 17, 2023 at 7:20 am

    Nice to see someone take Lead on this

  • Joe Corsin

    January 17, 2023 at 9:41 am

    Florida is full of far right trolls. Neo nazis use “rights” such a “freedom of speech” to commit crimes against society and inconvenience as many people as possible for their own entertainment. Does an animal have first amendment rights? Ok well then why are these animals granted rights the same as people? Right wingers and so called Christian nationalists are animals.

    • Gasd akikes

      January 17, 2023 at 1:37 pm

      GAS YOU

    • Jb

      January 18, 2023 at 9:51 am

      Hmmm. Dehumanizing others and calling for stripping them of their rights? Sound familiar?

  • Bill Hawthorne

    January 17, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    If this bill passes, does this mean that Ben Frazier will not be allowed to return to City Hall?

  • John 8:44

    January 17, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    This bill will violate the 1st Amendment and will not stop this from happening and will be challenged.

    • Jason ESQ

      January 19, 2023 at 12:37 pm

      Obviously you are not a legal professional. Stick to whatever it is you actually know.

      • Goy imknow

        January 21, 2023 at 11:11 am

        Well Jason, it is obvious you are an invader, and do not know about the U.S. Constitution, that us U.S. citizens learned in an English based school. Local ordinances or state laws can not infringe on the U.S Constitution. This is what is called, Unconstitutional. Entiendes ahora?

  • Goy imknow

    January 21, 2023 at 11:26 am

    Low IQ government employees, aka mentally challenged exhibitionists, will always attempt to score public points, however it is exceptionally rare they ever get to keep them. They are more than welcome to draft / enact whatever bill / ordinance they idiotically believe will survive… it will not.

Comments are closed.


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