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(Video Credit: FOX 13 Tampa Bay)
The media collectively pounced on Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) on Tuesday, pushing a blatantly false accusation that he had a “community activist” hauled off from a news conference in cuffs by police for criticizing him… except that’s not what happened.
Ben Frazier, who is a leftist activist, was arrested for trespassing after being repeatedly asked to leave a closed press conference for DeSantis. The governor had not even arrived yet, according to The Daily Wire. Neither DeSantis nor his team had the man arrested. Frazier flatly refused to leave and was subsequently arrested with the media descending like vultures to get opportune pics of their latest hero.
The news conference was open only to credentialed media and not the public which is the norm. DeSantis was scheduled to speak on the monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID patients in the state.
In the now-viral video, staffers can be seen confronting Frazier and asking him to leave so the news conference could begin. They requested that he “connect” with the governor at another time. Frazier was not going anywhere in what looked like a staged protest for the media.
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) January 4, 2022
“The people are here to hold this governor accountable,” Frazier proclaimed. “What’s the proper way, sir, not to follow our First Amendment rights? … This governor is an enemy of the people. … Is he going to run and hide or is he going to face the people?”
Then he pushed the left’s false narrative that DeSantis was missing in action.
“Your governor, by the way, throughout this pandemic, has been asleep at the wheel. And in recent weeks, during the upsurge of the variant, this governor has been mysteriously missing in action,” he said. “We are suggesting to you sir, and to the rest of the world, that when it comes down to the public welfare, this governor does not care. When it comes down to the people’s welfare this governor does not care. Here is our position, it’s time for him to address the people, go and get him.”
The Jacksonville police arrived on the scene and proceeded to ask a DeSantis staffer what was going on.
“Yes, we are asking everyone who is not credentialed press to leave,” she told an officer.
Everyone was herded out of the room where Frazier was making his stand. Then he was handcuffed.
As Frazier was arrested he charged, “When it comes to public welfare, this governor does not care!”
“Why am I the only one being handcuffed,” Frazier is heard saying in video footage. There were other protesters there but it seemed Frazier was leading the pack as he was the most verbal of the lot.
“Today’s press conference in Jacksonville was about monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19. These treatments have saved thousands of lives in Florida,” DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw noted in a statement. “They have the potential to prevent many more hospitalizations and deaths — if people are aware of the importance of early treatment, understand their risk profile, and know how to access care for themselves and loved ones. This should be the story.”
Pushaw called it “shameful” for protesters to deliberately keep officials from giving Floridians critical information. She stated that Frazier “has disrupted official proceedings several times before.”
“It is shameful that protesters would attempt to disrupt state officials and prevent them from conveying potentially life-saving information to the public during a pandemic,” she charged in a statement.
“The protester detained by Jacksonville police for trespassing this morning is not a member of the press. Mr. Frazier is an activist who has disrupted official proceedings several times before, including a State Board of Education meeting and a City Council meeting that was forced to adjourn early due to his disruptive behavior,” the statement added.
First Amendment rights refresher:
You have a right for peaceful assembly
You do not have a right to block traffic
You have a right to protest
You do not have a right to interrupt events
You have a right to be on public property
You do not have a right to unrestricted access
— Kyle Lamb (@kylamb8) January 4, 2022
Democrats now believe there is a First Amendment right to "occupy public buildings". LOLsuits incoming. https://t.co/xn2dCI8jEx
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) January 4, 2022
“Every citizen has the right to protest in public places – but not to trespass in a secured facility in order to disrupt a press briefing and prevent essential information from being conveyed to the public,” Pushaw declared. “If Mr. Frazier had attempted to enter a White House press briefing to ‘protest peaceably’ in front of President Biden, Mr. Frazier would likewise have been removed and detained, as would be appropriate.”
“The only difference would be the liberal media’s reaction or lack thereof,” she astutely concluded.
The media and Democrats were quick to run with the story, hoping to smear and disparage DeSantis.
— Rep. Angie Nixon (@AngieNixon) January 4, 2022
State Senator Shevrin Jones released a statement Tuesday afternoon on Frazier’s arrest, calling him a “pillar” in the community and claiming it was the activist’s rights that were violated.
“Mr. Frazier is a pillar in the greater Jacksonville community and a longtime organizer dedicated to advancing progress on the issues that impact people’s daily lives. Today’s arrest was a troubling violation of his rights and yet another attack on Floridians’ freedoms from Gov. DeSantis and his team, supposed ‘public servants’ whose salaries are funded directly by taxpayers. The Governor has a responsibility to every Floridian – not just those who support his political ambitions – and owes the people real answers on this latest erosion of public trust,” Jones stated.
The press conference was held in Naples later in the day rather than in Jacksonville due to the incident, according to CBS Miami.
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