Jacksonville, Fl – DeSantis turns and runs rather than enter the room – Jacksonville, Fl.- An elderly Black community activist was arrested following his refusal to leave a press conference Governor Ron DeSantis was going to hold on COVID 19. Ben Frazier, the president of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and organization members, maintained that they had the right to attend the event in public building by Florida’s top public official. They are also suing DeSantis on the anti-riot bill HB1. A DeSantis staffer who tried to get the group to leave said security concerns were the reason. The majority of the group was elderly.
The episode played out before news cameras as Frazier and his group waited for the governor to appear. When DeSantis saw what was going on, he turned and ran from the room. “Look at the governor, he’s running away. He tucked his tail and ran. He does not want to meet with us.” Meanwhile, Frazier, a former news commentator continued to challenge the staffer with a barrage of comments about DeSantis failure to meet with the people or address the deadly virus. “When it comes to the public welfare the Governor does not care. We are his constituents he does not want to see us. He does not want to want to meet with the people. We are peaceful citizens. We come in peace,” Frazier said. Frazier was handcuffed and taken out of the room without explanation and his members dispersed.
Jacksonville state Senator Audrey Gibson said, “Rather than include the public who are affected by the virus the Governor decides to have a closed press conference with the media only to avoid facing the people he swore to protect. The arrest of a citizen on public property at the Department of Health office is even worse, and demonstrates the lack of willingness to face one concerned
DeSantis is known for having daily press conferences where no questions are allowed. He has been conspicuously absent from the newscasts lately in the face of national criticism about his failure to combat the dramatic surge of the COVID viruses in Florida. His many critics have reminded Floridians that DeSantis has denied science and gone to great lengths to enact dangerous policies and laws that are life threatening. They have coined the phrase He’s “missing.”
A coalition member laid it out plainly to the staffer, “ We represent the community that you have allowed to suffer. That’s really what’s disrespectful. You’re saying we’re being disruptive but it’s (COVID) has been disruptive to our Iives. We’re not able to go to work, can’t get tested, all the funding is drying up This is a state of emergency.”
Popular former governor, Charlie Crist, is DeSantis’s Democratic opponent in this year’s governors race. He has continued to challenge the governor’s indifference to the deadly virus war. “This is not some political game of dodge the issue. This about keeping Floridians alive. You cannot act after the fact. Death is not reversable. Ron DeSantis needs to stop blaming the President and do his job,” said Crist
The last time COVID surged in Florida the governor’s poll numbers plummeted by twenty points in major polls. He’s been very misleading about his whereabouts during this latest crisis. The press conference appeared to be another effort to avert another nosedive in the polls. He spent the conference rambling about alternative medicines and blaming President Joe Biden for Florida’s high infection rates. Florida ranks between 3 and 4th in COVID cases with some counties seeing daily increases of 311%.