Media Contact

ACLU of Florida Media Office,

September 9, 2020

Tallahasee, Fla. - The Tallahassee Police Department and Leon County Sheriff’s Office engaged in an orchestrated show of police overreach and excessive force against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. Fourteen people who were exercising their First Amendment rights during the protest in Tallahassee on Sept. 5 were also arrested. 

The following is a statement from Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel: 

"The police intimidation tactics and excessive use of force against peaceful, unarmed protesters exercising their First Amendment rights was unjustified and barbaric. It is not something our community ever expected to see in Tallahassee. The right to peacefully protest in front of our State Capitol is fundamental. The police’s retaliatory stop of a car covered with messages of dissent for driving too slowly violates the First Amendment and undoubtedly chills speech. Additionally, law enforcement needs to be held accountable for their brutality against peaceful protesters. Protesters need to be protected, not arrested. We urge the State Attorney to ensure that charges are dismissed against those who never should have been arrested in the first place and to hold law enforcement accountable for their unlawful actions. We urge law enforcement to commit to protecting protesters from outside threats, not arresting those engaging in peaceful assembly, regardless of whether they disagree with the speech being expressed."