Florida law enforcement arrests neo-Nazi demonstrator who draped swastikas over I-4

Protesters in June flew swastikas and Ron DeSantis flags, but the Governor signed a law leading to the arrest.

Florida law enforcement officials arrested a Cape Canaveral man who led a Nazi demonstration in Orlando in June.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced Jason Brown, 48, was arrested for violating a new Florida law forbidding the display of images on structures without permission.

FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass praised Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing the law and “giving us the tools to arrest this hate-filled radical.”

“This activity will not be tolerated in the greatest state in the country, Florida,” Glass said.

Officials said Brown has claimed membership in the Order of the Black Sun, which the Anti-Defamation League identifies as a neo-Nazi group based primarily in Florida.

The demonstration in Orlando proved particularly newsworthy because protesters waved flags supporting DeSantis’ presidential ambitions alongside swastikas and imagery of the Third Reich. Images shared online also showed racial and homophobic slurs.

DeSantis has notably faced political criticism for failing to publicly condemn the demonstrations.

“I’d like to thank the FDLE for arresting one of the neo-Nazis involved in Florida’s recent string of vile anti-semitic demonstrations,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “However, one arrest on a glorified vandalism charge doesn’t solve the core problem. Ron’s refusal to loudly and forcefully denounce the neo-Nazis that support him has created an environment where anti-semitism can flourish.

“Ron can point to this arrest as proof of action — and I’m sure he will — but we all know it’s not enough. For what seems like the thousandth time, we call on Ron to do the bare minimum: vocally condemn neo-Nazism and all forms of hate speech.”

Law enforcement, though, stressed that laws supported by the Governor led to the ability to arrest demonstrators.

While the First Amendment protects much of the actual speech, law enforcement said protesters violated state law by hanging swastikas and other antisemitic banners along the Daryl Carter Parkway Bridge, which crosses over Interstate 4 in Orlando.

“Florida is a law-and-order state. Today’s arrest demonstrates Florida’s commitment to protecting residents from attention-seeking extremists,” said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner.

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) assisted in the investigation. Kerner said he and FHP Col. Gary Howze were thankful DeSantis signed the law used to charge Brown and for “working to rid this state of intimidation, vitriol and hate directed towards people of faith, and for empowering law enforcement to do the same.”

Democrats who have drawn attention to the demonstrations praised the arrests.

“Thank you to everyone who has sent us videos and images of the Nazis — it does help,” Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, posted on X. “We are trying to ID as many as we can and pursue all options for accountability.”

The FDLE announced three outstanding warrants were issued for three others engaged in the protest but who live outside of Florida.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Joyce

    September 13, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    Who r u kidding. Law and order Dicktator.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    September 13, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Ah who cares. The Governor will just pardon him anyway.

  • Richard Russell

    September 13, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    If BLM or Antifa hang something will it be brought done?
    I suspect the law was enacted to stop Trump supporters from hanging Trump photos or political signs on overpasses. We hung Ross Perot signs from Sunrise overpass on I-95 in 1992-thank God we still had a First Amendment then.

    • Michael K

      September 13, 2023 at 7:46 pm

      What aboutism and false equivalencies cannot hide the safe harbor that exists for white supremacists in the MAGA Republican party.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 14, 2023 at 8:00 pm

      ross perot, you gotta be kidding. why do rich stupid businessmen think they can run this country fairly. they can’t. a country is nothing like a business. fairness and equality assurance dosen’t always pay quarterly profit. i don’t know what desantis is. i know what he’s not, presidential material.

  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    September 13, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Good evenning America
    Can anyone envision a scenario in which an arrest would be made for hanging twice as many homer testicle rainbow flags in the same manner in the same place(s)?
    Thank you America,

  • My Take

    September 13, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    Roehm DeSSwastika can’t afford to go TOO hard on his base. Theý have to feel safe in DeSSanistan.

  • It's Complicated

    September 14, 2023 at 11:03 am

    Would it satisfy Fried if DeSantis’ speech writers opened EVERY speech delivered with a denunciation of Nazis, fascism, racism, and hatred in general? The reality is you can count Nazis and other kooks like this on the proverbial ‘one hand’. Nazis are nobody’s political “base.” Doesn’t mean they are not potentially dangerous or worth keeping an eye on. In tourist rich areas of Florida, it is understandable that the state wants to lower the profile of groups like this.

    In the early 1990s in a small north Florida town, a couple of times a year a KKK group (2-3 people in robes and hoods) from a different county 120 miles away would show up and stand quietly at the courthouse square. No signs or messages other than, ‘Look at us… we are here.’ This understandably affected the vital signs of the local black community, which would mobilize an agitated counter-protest to YELL at the klansmen. This was EXACTLY what the klansmen wanted (the agitation part). Eventually, local black leaders were convinced that ignoring these klansmen would be a better response, and when the local black community quit showing up, and the local newspaper quit printing pictures and writing stories with quotes, the klansmen quit showing up.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 14, 2023 at 8:08 pm

      those are the old days. now days they shoot people at dollar stores. desantis can’t open any speech by condemning bigotry, the room would empty

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 14, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    order of the black sun. what a joke . is desantis the leader or just a secret admirer

  • Ben Martinez

    September 15, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    Oh please.
    DuhSantis didn’t outlaw expressions of hate. He outlawed low level vandalism.

    Why don’t you try looking at the country with the most experience of Nazis?

    In Germany, if you even flash a swastika, it’s the Graybar Hotel for you.

    What do the Germans know about Nazis that we don’t know?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704