Charges dropped against Nikki Fried, Lauren Book over abortion protest
Lauren Book gets booked. Image via Claire Van Susteren.

book arrested
'The state has no interest in encouraging more unlawful behavior through extending their notoriety as they move through the court system.'

Leon County state attorney Jack Campbell won’t pursue charges against Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried, Democratic state Sen. Lauren Book and 11 other abortion rights protesters arrested in April.

The two were arrested near the Capitol with other protesters, all outraged over the Legislature’s passage of an abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant. Fried and Book joined Occupy Tallahassee to protest the bill (SB 300) in front of City Hall adjacent to the Capitol after the bill passed the Senate on April 3. Gov. Ron DeSantis later signed the bill on April 13.

Protesters were told to leave City Hall by sundown and, when they refused, they were arrested. They were booked and put in jail but released after a few hours.

In a court filing, Campbell states there was probable cause for arrest for trespassing after a warning, but since Fried, Book and the other protesters wanted to get arrested, pursuing charges wouldn’t be useful.

“The purpose of the criminal justice system is to promote an orderly and safe society through imposing consequences for those who break our laws,” Campbell wrote. “Here, the defendants have elected to use the criminal justice system to amplify their political agenda. Put plainly, they wanted to be arrested and gained media attention by being arrested. The state has no interest in encouraging more unlawful behavior through extending their notoriety as they move through the court system. Due to their lack of criminal history and cooperation with officers, it is unlikely that the court would impose any meaningful sanction.”

Fried said she will “keep fighting until every woman in Florida has the freedom to make her own choices about abortion.”

“I would have gladly gone to trial over this, because Floridians are being denied the fundamental right to control their own bodies,” Fried said. “If that’s not worth being arrested for, I don’t know what is.”

Book said, “The right to protest is a founding principle of our democracy, and I take exception to the assertion that I somehow ‘elected to use the criminal justice system to amplify (a) political agenda.’ We must all feel safe using our voices and exercising our fundamental rights as Americans to speak up and speak out. While it was certainly not my plan to get arrested on the evening of April 3, I was nonetheless proud to join this group of women sitting peacefully, singing, and exercising our First Amendment rights to protest Florida’s dangerous abortion ban, which passed through the Senate earlier that day. Women’s voices must be heard, and our reproductive and First Amendment rights must be respected. I will never be shy about using my voice or standing up for the rights of all Floridians.”

The new law is not yet in effect. The bill tied enforcement of the six-week ban to the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling on a challenge to the 15-week ban the Legislature passed last year. The court is expected to rule on that case sometime this summer. If, as expected, the court upholds that law, that would trigger the six-week ban.

“Lawful protest is fully permissible in Tallahassee and this incident has demonstrated how it can be accomplished,” Campbell added. “Those who chose to wantonly violate the rules we all share should expect to go to jail. Should this consequence prove insufficient, or if future protesters being arrested resist or otherwise assail law enforcement, greater penalties will be sought.”

Gray Rohrer


  • Earl Pitts American

    June 2, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    News Flash America,
    Everyone in politics knows this Campbell fellow up in Tallahassee is a 100% dook 4 brains leftist. He saw how the Fed’s let Guillum off and his internal dook 4 brains leftist compass told him to follow his heros who let Gillum off by riding that wave to let Fried and Book off.
    Would Campbell up in Tallahassee be so generous with a conservative? Oh HeII to the No.
    There you have it folks your man, Earl Pitts American, knows all about every dook 4 brains elected official all over Florida. If theres one thing I, Earl Pitts American, know its liberals been studying them all my life.
    Be afraid dook 4 brains leftys be very afraid. Earl Pitts American knows what you are going to do even before you do it.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Impeach Biden

    June 2, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Deport Nikki Fried out of Florida. Put her in a more welcoming environment for that left wing lunatic like Kalifornia, Oregon, Washington, Illinois. We don’t want her here. Go away Fried.

    • Anya

      June 5, 2023 at 3:26 pm

      The First Amendment provides that Congress make no law regarding the establishment of religion. It protects freedom of non-violent speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and the right to petition/protest the Government.
      Your stated ignorance of these rightful provisions is both horrifying and infinitely annoying.
      There are educational videos by lauded jurists on YouTube explaining our Constitution — I suggest you take a look at them before you embarrass yourself further.

  • tom palmer

    June 2, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    It was a bullshit arrest in the first place based on a made-up curfew. The prosecutor made the right decision.

    • Impeach Biden

      June 2, 2023 at 7:40 pm

      Of course they were told to leave. Of course they were told to knock it off. Of course they were told that if they continued to not follow police orders they would be arrested. Of course they are Democrats and the laws do not apply to them. Throw away the key.

      • Dont Say FLA

        June 6, 2023 at 10:16 am

        Well the protestors can’t just have the state legislature exempt them from having laws applying to them. That is special, for Ron DeSantis only.

    • Rhonda Doesnt Want His Ban In Court

      June 6, 2023 at 10:15 am

      Remember, Ron DeSantis is a Harvard and Yale educated attorney. He must realize his 6 week ban has a legal flaw, which is why he is keeping Nikki Fried from taking his ban to Florida’s judicial system. Rhonda must know his ban would be remedied and he would be embarrassed by the judicial system with headlines such as “DeSantis Appointed Judge Overturns DeSantis 6 Week Abortion Ban”

  • woke up

    June 3, 2023 at 11:23 am

    The arrests and nolo prosecution are not important. The real story is the facist Florida Legislature and creepy Governor passing unconstitutional restrictions on the right to privacy and personal medical autonomy that gave rise to the protest.

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 6, 2023 at 10:10 am

    This is a transparent attempt to prevent Rhonda’s 6 week abortion ban from being overturned which would be doubly embarrassing for the Rhonda campaign. First embarrassment, the 6 week ban itself. Second embarrassment, overturn of the 6 week ban even after Rhonda appointed his anti-Disney squad guy’s wife to the Florida Supreme Court. Rhonda has some incredibly thin skin. Rhonda can’t take the heat, so he’s keeping Nikki Fried out the kitchen by dropping charges to prevent Fried having her day in court, leading to the 6 week ban being challenged and, given Rhonda’s action to keep his ban out of the courts, Rhonda the Harvard and Yale educated attorney, he must know State of Florida will lose when his 6 week abortion ban goes to court. That is why he is keeping his 6 week abortion ban out of the judicial system process that exists in the USA for providing remedy for injustices such as Ron DeSantis 6 week abortion ban.

  • Never Back Down?

    June 6, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Never Back Down, unless your 6 week ban is going to have its day in court. Then back right down. Immediately. Drop the charges. Keep it out of the judicial system.

Comments are closed.


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