JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Tense moments unfolded Tuesday and a man was led away by police in handcuffs after criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis over his public health policies.
Shortly before DeSantis was set to speak at the Florida Department of Health in Duval County and announce a new monoclonal antibody treatment site in Jacksonville, a man identified as local activist Ben Frazier led a group of protesters in speaking out against the governor.
"When it comes down to public welfare, this governor does not care!" Frazier and the demonstrators repeatedly chanted.
When a DeSantis aide approached Frazier, he accused the governor of refusing to hear from the public about the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"What about the voice of the people?" Frazier said. "Is the governor afraid to meet with the people? We mean him no harm. We come in peace."
At one point, it appeared DeSantis entered the room to speak, then quickly left when he saw the commotion.
"There you go, the governor is running!" Frazier shouted.
The DeSantis aide then asked anyone who wasn't credentialed to attend the event to be removed from the room by Jacksonville police. When Frazier refused, he was placed in handcuffs.
"The governor is afraid to meet with the people. He's the enemy of the people," Frazier said before being led out of the room.
Frazier repeatedly asked police and the DeSantis aide why he was placed in handcuffs, to which he received no response.
"Why am I being arrested?" Frazier said. "I'm asking a question. Am I being arrested? There are other people here. Why are they not being handcuffed?"
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DeSantis eventually spoke roughly 30 minutes later and was asked about the encounter by a reporter.
"I have no idea what happened, so you can save that for me," DeSantis said, quickly brushing off the journalist.