Videos of Hemming Park protest explained

Clark Fouraker is on your side. 4/10/2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - First Coast News reviewed at least five different videos recorded and posted to social media of a protest that turned violent in Hemming Park on Friday.

In the first frames of the earliest video, three of the main players are on a stage. The two guys on the right, David Schneider (plaid shirt) and Connell Crooms (brown shirt), were at the park to take part in an anti-war protest. They organized the group in response to the Trump administration firing missiles into Syria.

On the left of the video: Gary Snow (black vest), a Donald Trump supporter who went on stage in opposition of the Hemming Park demonstration.

Before things escalated, both sides were on megaphones shouting opposing messages.

The protest wasn't that large. At one point, the camera pans the crown and shows the small and peaceful group in the park. The escalation begins when Crooms and Snow go off the stage. A scuffle between the two men subsides with no police officer intervention.

But after that, Snow crosses to the other side of the stage. Crooms does too and a JSO officer follows.

The officer gets in between the men to deescalate the situation. The video shows the officer direct Crooms back toward the stage and away from Snow.

Snow walks around the officer and sticks his middle finger inches away from Croom's face.

It's difficult to see on video, but a shove of some kind happens and that's when officers begin arresting people.

Crooms is taken to the ground and the first of six different arrests of protestors.

One of the other people arrested in David Schneider, the man who was originally on stage with Crooms.

In a different video, a woman who says she's Schneider's girlfriend, can be heard asking an officer why Snow was not arrested if he too was involved in the scuffle that started it all.

"Why are you not arresting the provoker Gary Snow?" she said.

Snow was never charged.

Over the weekend, protesters gathered a second time to question why he wasn't charged and suggest charges be dropped against the six people arrested.

“We cannot comment at this time about these arrests because the matters are currently under investigation," a spokesperson from State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office told us. "As our office does with every case it receives, we will review the facts and make an appropriate decision based on those facts and the law.”

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams declined to be interviewed for this story.

He says protests in the city have taken a different dynamic and he's working to review if new rules regulating protests should be established.

RELATED | JSO is reviewing their protest policy after Friday night protests in Hemming Park + the arrest of six people there

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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