Florida Prepares Statewide Police Resources To Defend Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer
UPDATE (Wednesday, October 18, 2017): An anonymous source has contacted Unicorn Riot and provided us with two images that show planned police deployments to protect the Richard Spencer event at University of Florida campus on the 19th. Our source told us that these maps do not show the final police plan but would bear close resemblance to the final plan. They also told us that “approximately $250,000 of the money spent on security so far has gone into renting barricades.” Local media reported barricade positions.
See the leaked images below:
A local brewery in Gainesville recently announced they will give free beer to anyone who helps disrupt the Richard Spencer event or turns over their tickets. “Those tickets and reserved spots will be disposed of, leaving two more empty seats in the Philips Center,” Alligator Brewing Co. told Raw Story. “We unfortunately can’t stop him from bringing his hate to Gainesville, but we can empty the room so his disgusting message goes unheard.”
UPDATE (Monday October 16, 2017): Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency ahead of Richard Spencer’s appearance in Gainesville on Thursday the 19th. The language in the State of Emergency declaration is primarily intended to formalize the process of sending in large amounts of police officers from surrounding state and local agencies, apparently at the request of Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
This news came just hours after it was announced that hundreds of University of Florida staff, faculty, and supporters had signed a petition asking the school to cancel Spencer’s appearance, which is a private event not taking place at the invitation of any student group.
About 500 faculty, staff and supporters of @NoNazisAtUF have signed a petition telling @UF not to allow @RichardBSpencer to speak. @WUFTNews pic.twitter.com/pP8sbCCiQD
— Ramsey Touchberry (@ramsberry1) October 16, 2017
Gainesville, FL – After legal threats led the University of Florida to agree to host neo-nazi speaker Richard Spencer, local officials have stated that they expect to spend over $500,000 on security despite only being able to charge a fraction of that cost to host the event. The school had previously cancelled a speaking event by Spencer in September citing safety concerns, but Spencer’s event has now been officially confirmed as taking place on October 19th.
One of the University of Florida’s top doctors recently told the Washington Post that the security operation to protect Richard Spencer on October 19 involves closing a major outpatient clinic and surgery center, disrupting students’ ability to access medical services. No student group at the University of Florida has invited Spencer, who is simply renting space for his own private event.
Spencer, mostly known for getting punched in the face on Donald Trump’s inauguration day, is a leader of the “suit and tie Nazi” think tank National Policy Institute. He is also the owner of the website AltRight.com and is generally credited with inventing the term “alt-right” as a social engineering tactic to repackage and legitimize white nationalist ideology. He was scheduled to speak at Unite The Right in Charlottesville before it was shut down, and was also a headlining speaker at a recently cancelled Nazi torch rally that had been scheduled for December 28 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
More recently, on Saturday, October 7, Richard Spencer and a few dozen associates conducted an unannounced torch march through Charlottesville, VA, rallying for about half an hour before quickly fleeing the scene under the protection of a police convoy. Spencer was heard on Saturday night to say “there’s going to be a lot more crying, sweetheart” which many took as a reference to the murder of Heather Heyer and a threat to bring about similar violence and death in the future.
Florida officials have said they are aware of Spencer’s appearance in Charlottesville and are still actively planning for the 19th.
Through public records requests sent to city officials in Gainesville, Unicorn Riot has obtained documents that shed light on police preparations to create a safe space for Spencer and his supporters, who are expected to be met with thousands of anti-racist counter-protesters.
On Friday, October 6, Gainesville Police were looking to finalize a Mutual Aid Agreement that would bring outside law enforcement from all over Florida into town on October 19 to protect Spencer and his white nationalist fans from anti-racist counter-protests. Senior Assistant City Attorney Lee C. Libby forwarded the agreement for review to the city’s Risk Management departing, writing “GPD is trying to get this out to the Florida Police Chief’s Association before lunch so they can finalize mutual aid assistance for the Richard Spencer event.”
While the language in the memorandum makes reference to the “enthusiastic exercise of free speech” by both white supremacists and anti-racists, the nature of the police mission is spelled out clearly as “providing security for the Richard Spencer and/or National Policy Institute event.” The generic agreement, with blank spaces to be filled in by each assisting Florida agency, requests “operational assistance…for security planning, training, execution, and post-event law enforcement operations.”
See the full Mutual Aid agreement for yourself below:SPENCER Mutual Aid generic
The document bears resemblance to agreements signed by North Dakota law enforcement last year to send extra assistance to protect the Dakota Access Pipeline in Morton County near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.
Other emails we acquired show how the unwanted neo-nazi gathering is already disrupting many aspects of how Gainesville conducts business as a city. On September 27, City Manager Office Coordinator Helen Harris suggested that the Spencer event would take up so much city resources that the regularly scheduled City Commission meeting, which would have been on October 19, had to be cancelled and rescheduled. A trip to Ohio that local officials planned on taking with representatives of the local Chamber of Commerce was also cancelled.
Primary source material obtained during our reporting for this article:
-Document: Mutual Aid Agreement For Operations Assistance In Providing Security For The Richard Spencer And/Or National Policy Institute Event
-Email: RE MOU
-Email: Fwd- October 19th City Commission Agenda Items
-Email: FW- October 19th City Commission Agenda Items
-Email: FW- Public Records Request- Gainesville Department of Risk Management emails about Richard Spencer, September 20-present
-Email: Afternoon Update- Gov. Scott- No more bonuses for Enterprise Florida & Visit Florida
-Email: FW- CityLine Announcement- Statement from City Manager Regarding Richard Spencer
–Additional emails from Gainesville City Attorney’s office (86 pages)
–Final batch of emails from Gainesville City Attorney’s office (47 pages)
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