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Jacksonville activist handcuffed and removed ahead of DeSantis COVID-19 press conference

 Ben Frazier, member of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, is handcuffed and removed from the Florida Department of Health in Duval County's administrative building on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.
WJXT
/
The Florida Channel
Ben Frazier, member of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, is handcuffed and removed from the Florida Department of Health in Duval County's administrative building on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

A group of activists who showed up ahead of a press conference with Governor Ron DeSantis were forced to leave before the governor appeared to speak.

Ben Frazier is with Northside Coalition of Jacksonville — a racial, social and economic justice advocacy group. “This is a public meeting. This is a public official. This is a public building. We have a right to be here. And we are not moving,” Frazier said.

Frazier was handcuffed before law enforcement escorted him out of the Florida Department of Health administrative building in Duval County — where the governor and state surgeon general later spoke.

Frazier explained to members of the governor’s staff that those gathered at the event had questions for DeSantis about his response to the pandemic.

They responded that the governor's press conferences aren't open to the general public unless they've been screened.

Copyright 2022 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.