Group Threatens to Take Confederate Monument Down by Force, Law Enforcement Prepare for the Worst
BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and Brooskville Police are coordinating efforts to prevent a violent confrontation between protesters, after threats were made by an alleged Antifa group to forcibly remove a Confederate Monument from the ground of the Brooksville Courthouse.
Barricades and yellow crime scene tape surround the monument that honors fallen Confederate soldiers, and dozens of law enforcement officers are prepared stop any potential violence that may take place during the planned event this evening.
Threats began yesterday, after the City of Tampa voted to remove a Confederate monument from their courthouse. Human rights activist and self-proclaimed Antifa member, Bettejo Passalaqua, stated in a recent Facebook post, “Hernando county was the lynching capitol of the south and the atrocious statue in front of the people’s courthouse is a daily reminder of race hatred. Confederate statues are coming down all over the south. It is time for us to bring this one down.” Passalaqua went on to threaten violence against those who tried to stop the removal when she stated, “Look, people. This is f**king serious… We aren’t glitter bombing Nazis. We aren’t throwing flour on them. We definitely aren’t going to peacefully shut them down. They want to kill us, they said so in Charlottesville. They made it very clear where they stand and how they plan on taking action. Their violence needs to be met with great force. If you are not down to physically fight these f**kers, please stay off the front lines. You’ll get hurt and your pacifism will be a liability, resulting in others being hurt…”
We spoke to County Commissioner, Steve Champion, who’s family has a long history, spanning several generations in Hernando County, and he said, “I will never vote to remove monuments of history like this statue. It is a monument recognizing deceased US Veterans. Yes, the confederate soldiers were and are still US Veterans!!”
Commissioner Jeff Holcomb tells RNRF, “I am confused by how an act of violence in VA has provoked a movement to remove confederate monuments? The monument in Brooksville has been there for over 100 years. Why now, what has changed and what is the basis to remove it? This monument honors Confederate Soldiers, when I see it I think of the Civil War where this country lost 600k lives in the fight to eradicate slavery from this country.”
We caught up with local NAACP president, Paul Douglas, who was concerned over today’s planned event. Douglas says, “I understand this is their history but this is my history too.” Douglas say he wants the statue removed but he believes an acceptable compromise would be if the County erected a Martin Luther King Jr. Statue on the grounds as well.
We spoke to Paul Kiger, one of the first protesters to arrive on scene, and I asked why he was standing guard over the monument. Kiger says, “I’m just tired of being called a racist and my kids being called racist. He goes on to say, It doesn’t matter what kind of statue, it doesn’t need to be removed.”
In preparation for the event, the Courthouse closed at 3:00 p.m. and Broad Street and Jefferson Street are closed to vehicle traffic.
RNRF will bring more on this story as it develops.
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