The city of Tallahassee, Florida, decided against charging a man who pointed a pistol at a Black Lives Matter protester on Saturday after police found that the man brandished the weapon in self-defense.
About 150 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in front of the Florida Historic Capitol building on Saturday to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC), which organized the protest, did not contact police beforehand or receive a permit for the demonstration, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
A man showed up at the rally and began filming the protesters before one pushed him down and a mob began to surround him. The city described the incident in a press release on Sunday:
During the protest, a white male entered the crowd and began documenting the protest. That individual was pushed from behind by a white protester, which led to a physical altercation between the individual and several other white males. During the altercation, the individual was knocked to the ground. He got back to his feet and brandished a gun. [Tallahassee Police Department (TPD)] officers quickly engaged, took the individual into custody and peacefully dispersed the crowd. There were no reported injuries.
… TPD investigators worked with the State Attorney’s Office to review the evidence of the physical altercation. The evidence confirmed the physical altercation between numerous protestors and that the individual was knocked to the ground and under attack before lawfully defending himself. TPD confirmed that the individual with the gun was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon as a license holder.
Protesters and leaders of the event said that they were disappointed and disagreed with the police investigators’ findings. Trish Brown, a founding member of TCAC, blamed the police for not adequately protecting the demonstration even though it was non-permitted.
“I’m enraged that he is not being charged, enraged about how the police handled the situation,” Brown said, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “TPD, as far as I’m concerned, did not do their job. They did not keep that man away from our peaceful rally, our peaceful protesting which we always practice.”
On Aug. 23, Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back after Blake had wrestled free of police officers and withstood two shots from a taser, according to arresting officers. Blake was carrying a knife at the time and had opened the driver’s door of a vehicle that several children were sitting in before Sheskey opened fire.
Blake had a warrant out for his arrest over a May 3 incident in which he allegedly broke into the same house officers had found him at and assaulted the woman who lived there and with whom he had had a previous relationship. The shooting has likely left Blake crippled without the use of his legs after one of the bullets severed his spinal cord, according to Blake’s attorney.