Scott Declares State of Emergency Before Richard Spencer's Visit to UF

Lester Mason
October 17, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in Alachua County three days ahead of a scheduled speech at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville by the white nationalist Richard Spencer. However, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority.

The order allows Darnell to quickly "coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies", Scott's office said in a statement, adding the governor will maintain in constant communication with security officials to ensure "every request to the state is quickly granted to keep the public safe".

In addition, the Sentinel reports, Scott will also activate the Florida National Guard to help with security if needed.

Earlier this year, Spencer spoke in Charlottesville where brawls broke out and a woman was killed during a racial protest.

"Your city has become symbolic for the tearing down of the symbols of the history of this nation, the history of our people - of white people of Virginia, of the South and of the entire United States", Spencer said at a nighttime rally there.

In this December 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spence speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas.

"If Richard Spencer were to come on Thursday and speak unopposed, it would only embolden him and his supporters to further advance and mainstream political fear", Timothy Chia, co-chair of UF's Young Democratic Socialists chapter, said. (Spencer wasn't invited to campus, but was allowed to rent space after he threatened to sue.) Students have accused the school of trying to suppress their right to protest. Photo: AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File.

However, UF President Kent Fuchs has urged his students to "avoid the event" and to "not let the message of hate and racism go unchallenged". He wrote in an email that Spencer and his group seek only "to provoke a reaction".

"We are hoping this is a nonevent", Darnell said. "But in the reality of this world we have to be well prepared".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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