Once again, systematic racism rears its ugly head.
On September 23, 2020, peaceful protesters marched down a busy thoroughfare in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It was the day after Louisville announced that none of the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor would be charged in her death. That weekend, activist groups all around the country marched for justice, Saint Petersburg marched, too.
During that march, the peaceful assemblers walked and chanted along a row of restaurants, where people were sitting on patios enjoying the evening breeze with their meals. As the group passed one elderly couple, the elderly couple used hand gestures and heckled them.
When they did that, one of the protesters sat in an empty chair at their table. The woman-heckler lost her mind. First, she tried to push the protester out of the chair. When that didn’t work, she picked up her phone to dial 911. Meanwhile, other protesters witnessing the aggression from this elderly couple came over and sat down as well. The protesters stayed seated at the elderly couple’s table for roughly 2 minutes, then they got up and continued their march.
Here is a clip of the incident; the full unedited video of the protest that night can be found here.
In comes “non-bias” media to get some clout.
Josh Fiallo from the Tampa Bay Times later that evening posted a video to Twitter, which excluded the elderly couple heckling and making obscene gestures at protesters asking for racial justice. His caption to the video said, “Protestors are now going restaurant by restaurant to chant at diners on Beach Dr. in St. Pete. A lot of diners yelled back, starting multiple confrontations. This one was the most significant. Protestors took over a couple’s table. Not sure why they were targeted specifically.”
Unbeknownst to Josh Fiallo or activists in Saint Petersburg, that tweet would go viral, getting over 3 million views. The next day the Tampa Bay Times posted an article regarding the incident adding that the elderly diners were heckling the protesters. But it was too late. The narrative that peaceful protesters were targeting elderly white diners was out there.
Far-right Republican Governor and Trump ball-licker, Ron DeSantis said at a press conference that “mobs were harassing innocent people.” This fed the anti-Black narrative that Republicans and Trump voters all around the country have embraced.
The September 26th protest.
While September 26 began as any other march the local activists have participated in over several months, it didn’t end that way.
Many of the videos have been taken down and are in the hands of the attorneys working on the case, but one of the aggressors left his video on YouTube. In this video, a group of alt-righters, later identified as Patriots, Trumpers, and the Blue Thunder Biker Gang can be seen stalking, harassing, and assaulting peaceful protesters.
The alt-right,anti-Black, and anti-Constitutional group were heard saying, “Trump 2020. We’re making sure Antifa doesn’t harass people eating. And they commented multiple times about how there were 100 protesters, but cops weren’t there to stop them from marching.” The man who made this video shouted with anger and aggression while accusing protesters of being in an organization, which doesn’t exist. The main cause of his anger from the video appears to be jaywalking.
At one point, the alt-right group can be heard talking about re-grouping and waiting for some more of their friends, so they could approach them with more numbers.
Multiple protesters were assaulted.
The alt-righters assaulted multiple protesters, pushing and hitting them, and they did this while using racial slurs.
Near the end of the march, the alt-righters pushed Kimberly Cox with such force, that she received a concussion, a contusion, and a broken tail-bone. This is Cox after she is being helped up.
In this video, which is in slow-motion, the gun incident can be seen unfold.
Right after Cox is pushed, two of the Black protesters turned around to go back to her, which is when the gunman and other alt-righters stood in between them and Cox. It appeared as a possible physical altercation was about to take place, that’s when the white man in the black shirt pulled out a gun, cocked it, and then pointed it at the two Black men. The protesters then ran away.
While all of this was happening, there was one police officer present. The police officer refused to take a report regarding the assault or the gun drawn. Nor did he get down the names and information of any of the aggressors. The officer even spoke directly to the gunman and allowed him to leave. This can also be seen in the aggressor’s YouTube video.
After that incident, the Saint Petersburg Police Department made up lies.
Local activists put on a statement saying, “While we believe the individual officer is accountable for his actions, we also believe that doing his job would have been easier had he not been alone in a large crowd of protesters and counter-protesters. The department needs to be held accountable for its decision as well, a decision that put protesters as well as one of their own in danger.“
SPPD put out a statement to the local media saying that the two Black protesters had knives. The file they even passed to the media was labeled ‘knife.png.’ That wasn’t true. Video and photographs were given to the police and the local media showing that the protesters were unarmed.
Yet, even though there is video evidence that the white gunman pointed his gun at the unarmed peaceful protesters, the Tampa Bay Times published a story with the police’s narrative…their lie.
Saint Petersburg PD’s lies in an already divided time were dangerous and reckless, and jeopardize the safety of these young men.
The gunman has been identified as Lawrence Arnold Davis of Saint Petersburg, Florida.
This guy is an unhinged individual who has shared social media posts which include protesters being murdered, memes about burning down protester’s houses, and comments that insinuated how he would have pulled guns on peaceful protesters.
As of today, Davis has still not been arrested or charged with any crimes.
Florida’s assistant state attorney.
On October 22, Kimberly Cox and attorneys finally got a meeting with the state attorney’s office to give voluntary statements. They were to meet with the prosecutor and assistant state attorney, Tony Carlow. During that meeting, Carlow was rude and disrespectful to both Cox and the attorneys present. While it was their first time meeting with Carlow, his behavior was inappropriate. Aside from the bullying, he grew increasingly agitated in the meeting and the parties who were there witnessed him turning red and shaking. Because of that, the council and Cox became uncomfortable and cut the meeting short.
Despite the video and the witness statements, the state’s attorney’s office still hasn’t made any filing decisions regarding Davis. Although, it is clear Davis has retained a lawyer.
Attorneys representing the activists are demanding that the State Attorney’s Office immediately file charges against Lawrence Arnold Davis. Charges include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Improper Exhibition of a Firearm (Fla. Stat. 790.10)
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon While Under the Influence of Alcohol (Fla. Stat. 790.151)
- Providing False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer During Investigation (Fla. Stat. 837.055)
- Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (Fla. Stat. 784.021)
- Felony Battery (Fla. Stat. 784.041)
- That charges against Davis be reclassified under Florida’s Hate Crime Statute, which states that “the penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified…if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidence prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age of the victim.” (Fla. Stat. 775.085)
- Remove Tony Carlow from this case as well as from any case involving the ongoing protests
How you can help.
Contact Bernie McCabe, State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, at (727) 464- 6221, demand the prosecution of Lawerence Arnold Davis.
Contact Mayor Rick Kriseman, at (727) 893-7201, demand the prosecution of Lawerence Arnold Davis.
The Revolution is being televised and the entire world is witnessing the injustice of the Saint Petersburg criminal justice system.