Tallahassee, FL – Police said a man who pulled a gun to defend himself against a mob at a Black Lives Matter rally in Tallahassee on Saturday will not face any charges (video below).
“The evidence confirmed the physical altercation between numerous protesters and that the individual was knocked to the ground and under attack before lawfully defending himself,” the Tallahassee Police Department said in a press release, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“TPD confirmed that the individual with the gun was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon as a license holder,” the press release said.
The incident began at about 6:40 p.m. on Aug. 29 when a counter-protester approached a group of about 150 unpermitted demonstrators at the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Bystanders said that the man was talking pictures of protesters’ license plates and arguing with them.
The city said the man was “documenting the protest” before he was “pushed from behind by a white protester,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Multiple cell phone videos posted to social media showed the fight that broke out between the man and mob of protesters.
What started the fight cannot be seen, but the video showed the man was quickly surrounded and knocked to the ground.
The video filmed by surveillance cameras on the lawn of the historic Capitol building showed a scuffle on the left side of the screen.
Then a man backed into the frame as he was being surrounded by a group of about five angry protesters.
The video showed the man was punched and shoved to the ground, landing on his back, as the mob around him quickly grew.
Then the sea of people quickly parted as the man popped up on one knee with a gun in his right hand and pointed at one of the protesters who had been attacking him.
Protesters around him screamed and scattered.
Then a police officer rushed over to the man with his service weapon drawn, the video showed.
The video showed that when the man with the gun saw the officer approaching, he immediately knelt on the ground and handed his weapon to the officer.
More officers rushed in to assist and help hold back the crowd as the man was handcuffed.
“TPD officers quickly engaged, took the individual into custody and peacefully dispersed the crowd,” the police department’s press release said.
Video showed officers quickly escorted the handcuffed man out of the area while other officers worked to disperse the crowd.
A man who claimed to be the person at whom the man’s gun was pointed told the Tallahassee Democrat that the fight started because the man had shoved a female protester.
Adam Ferguson said another protester shoved the man back and then the man threw a punch that hit Ferguson’s girlfriend.
He said that was when a bunch of people started punching the counter-protester, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Ferguson said he put his hands in the air when the man pulled the gun.
“It was all just 60 seconds, but it felt much longer,” he told the Tallahassee Democrat. “I don’t know why he would bring violence to a peaceful protest. When he pulled the gun out, it all went rank.”
Ferguson said he was “deeply upset” that the man had not been charged with a crime.
He said that a follow-up protest had been planned for Sunday but he and other organizers decided it would not be safe to hold it, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
City officials said the Saturday protest had not applied for or been issued a permit.
“With no advance notice to or coordination with TPD to ensure safety, the group gathered and blocked the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway with people and cars,” the city said in a press release. “Despite not being notified, TPD officers, who were in the area, moved in to stop traffic at the intersection to provide safety for the protest.”
“In line with their training, officers quickly de-escalated a tense situation that could have turned into tragedy,” the press release said, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “Tensions are very high, and TPD is calling for protests and actions to remain peaceful. Verbal and physical altercations can quickly escalate into tragedy.”
Watch the incident unfold in the videos below (scroll down for more). WARNING – Graphic Violence and Obscene Language:
Here is video of counter-protestor with gun at BLM protest today in Tallahassee, Florida outside Capitol pic.twitter.com/zCQBQW4pWx
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) August 30, 2020
— Brandon Spencer (@BSpencerWCTV) August 29, 2020