JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press conference on COVID-19 was delayed Tuesday morning after it was disrupted by an activist who wanted to speak with him.
The governor’s aid had asked people who weren’t reporters to leave the press conference, prompting Ben Frazier, the president of the Jacksonville Northside Coalition, to start arguing with him. They said those who weren’t members of the media could be arrested for trespassing.
“Go and get the governor!” Frazier said. “Make me leave! Make me leave. I’m disobeying.”
Another governor staffer told Frazier they could speak with the governor at another time and explained that members of the public are not generally allowed to the press conference for security reasons.
However, as Frazier points out, members of the public have attended the governor’s press conferences in the past.
“We’re not moving,” Frazier said. “This is a public building on public property with a public official. What about the voice of the people, young lady?”
After learning the governor’s press conference would be delayed, Frazier had a message for the governor.
“Tell him we said welcome to Jacksonville. Stop running and hiding!,” he said.
Eventually, Frazier was put in handcuffs and escorted from the building, all the while saying the governor is an enemy of the people.
As he was put into a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cruiser, other activists yelled at deputies, chanting the word “Shame.”
Another attendee said they were not trying to disrupt the press conference. They just wanted to hear from the governor on his COVID-19 response.
“This is serious!” Maria Garcia said. “We’re here because people are dying. We’re here because my husband just had to wait in line an hour just to get a COVID test, and someone collapsed in back of him. And it was a COVID test not from a state facility, but from some private company that’s come in.