The Tallahassee Community Action Committee, a social justice organization, hosted a Black Lives Matter protest at the Capitol this past Saturday.
In the midst of the protest a white man was pushed from behind and fell to the ground. The man then pulled out a handgun and aimed it at the crowd of protesters.
In a video of the incident you can hear and see the crowd dispersing, trying to get away from the gunman. In the video you can also see the police apprehending the individual without the use of deadly force and take himinto police custody.
The man was later released from police custody under the notion that “he was lawfully defending himself,” according to a city of Tallahassee press release the following day.
Three days after the incident, on Tuesday, an emergency order was issued by Leon County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge, for fear of “civil unrest.” The emergency order places Tallahassee under a curfew from 11p.m. to 6 a.m. until Sept. 8.
The city of Tallahassee completely negated the fact that lives could have been lost at the hands of the counter-protester. The man was not held accountable for his actions. The man’s speedy release from police custody was a slap in the face to the Black community.
The man caused chaos to ensue at the protest and essentially got away with no consequences.
Instead of the Tallahassee Police Department being sensitive to the racial climate in America, it sided with the culprit who escalated the situation. TPD should have acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement and the lives lost at the hands of police brutality. The city of Tallahassee went a step further by placing its citizens on a curfew out of fear.
The fear that community leaders have for civil unrest is a fraction of the fear that Black people live with on a daily basis. The fear of being shot and killed, discriminated against, or hated is what goes through our bodies every single day of our lives. We cannot escape the macro and micro aggressions that follow us.
The decision to place Tallahassee on a curfew is terrible leadership. One individual altered the protest and it has led to essentially punishing the residents of Tallahassee. There was no acknowledgement for why the protest was happening. Instead there was a quick and fast decision made. This decision was made to discourage future protesting in Tallahassee and not in support of the Black community.