JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Just days after a criminal trespass charge was dropped against him, Northside Coalition Founder Ben Frazier was outside the Duval County courthouse protesting Wednesday.
His message? Criticizing the governor and state lawmakers over new voting rights, which he says restricts access to ballots.
"Our work still continues! Join Northside Coalition and Black Voters Matter as we rally for freedom, equity and authenticity," said The Northside Coalition in a press release about Wednesday's event.
Earlier this month, Frazier showed up to an event where Gov. DeSantis was expected to speak in Jacksonville.
He told DeSantis' staff members, who were reportedly trying to remove anyone who was not a member of the media, that he and other community members were present to hold the governor accountable.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Officers on site placed Frazier in handcuffs and put him in the back of a JSO patrol car.
"We are pleased to announce that trespass charges against respected civil rights activist Ben Frazier were dropped on Friday, January 21," said John M. Phillips, attorney for Frazier, in a statement. "...There is no need for a hearing; and there was, in fact, no need for an arrest. They knew it. Now we begin the process of legal action pertaining to Mr Frazier's illegal and inappropriate arrest and restriction of speech..."
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After the incident, the Governor's Office argued that the purpose of an official press conference is for credentialed media to cover information from the governor’s office that is essential for the public to hear and not a place to protest.
"Every citizen has the right to protest in public places – but not to trespass in a secured facility in order to disrupt a press briefing and prevent information from being conveyed to the public," said The Governor's Office.
When asked about the charges being dropped, his office sent First Coast News this statement:
“Governor DeSantis does not have a comment on this because he wasn’t involved. In fact, he did not even know about the incident until after his press conference that day, when a reporter asked him about it."
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