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Photo by Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat

Heavy Law Enforcement at the Florida Capitol in Preparation of Violent Protests

Following the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, citizens of America have wondered what this will mean for the upcoming Presidential Inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden.  Leading up to the week of the inauguration the FBI released a soft warning claiming all 50 state capital cities may be targeted. Then on Friday, Jan. 15, the FBI arrested Tallahassee citizen, Daniel Baker, a former U.S. soldier with anti-Trump sentiments for allegedly planning and issuing a call to arms for a violent attack on the Florida Capitol. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, his issue included a flyer reading: “We will protect Capitol RESIDENTS and CIVILIANS from armed racist mobs with EVERY CALIBER AVAILABLE.”​

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The mayor of the City of Tallahassee responded to Friday’s events concerning the arrest of Daniel Baker by saying, “What happened on Friday brought it home. That’s in our backyard. That takes it to another level to make sure that we’re prepared to keep everyone safe.”

Mayor John Dailey called Governor Ron Desantis multiple times imploring him to deploy the Florida National Guard at the capitol in order to prepare for any upcoming violent protests or counter-protests which may occur this week. Governor Desantis hesitantly responded with an executive order to bring the National Guard to the Capitol, which went into effect immediately. The National Guard will remain activated in Leon County through Jan. 24, 2021.

This executive order has directly led to an influx of heavy law enforcement officers from all backgrounds being stationed in Florida’s capital city over the course of the past few days. There have been no sightings of the National Guard at the Capitol Building as of yet, but there were witnesses of National Guard vehicles appearing at the National Armory on Jan. 17. However, it was visible from Adams St. that law enforcement had been stationed on the roof of the capitol building.

There were also several law enforcement officers and K-9 units patrolling the front lawn of both the Old and new Florida capitol buildings. Several Florida Highway Patrol cruisers and units were seen lining up on Apalachee Parkway as additional security. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office also made an appearance as they blocked off the County Courthouse on Calhoun Street. The Orlando Sentinel reports the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office stated they along with other agencies were called upon by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to send emergency response teams to Tallahassee this week.

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It is important to note no violence has been suspected over the past two days due to the law enforcement officers at the capitol building. No more than five protestors have arrived on the scene and there have been no acts of violence. As of right now, everything has remained quiet and there are hopes it will remain this way throughout the duration of the Inauguration thanks to the heavy preparations in place. John Dailey made the comment, “We are not a violent community, nor will we tolerate violence.”

“Florida’s Capitol is secure,” according to the Tallahassee Police Department.

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Ariana White is currently a sophomore and majoring in Editing, Writing and Media at The Florida State University. She currently works as a Resident Assistant on campus. She is an active member of the Gamma Beta chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. She is a staff writer for HerCampusFSU and the FSU Panhellenic Association's blog/magazine: Philia. She loves to write blog articles, poems, and even songs.
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