Man who pulled gun at Florida BLM rally freed after video reveals assault
A man was filmed pulling a handgun on Black Lives Matter protesters at a rally in Florida — then freed without charges after other footage showed him being punched and knocked to the ground, cops said.
Initial footage from Saturday’s rally in Tallahassee showed an apparent counter-protester being confronted — then brandishing a handgun, forcing one man to drop to his knees with his hands up in surrender.
But police — who pounced on him within seconds — later released other clips that showed he had pulled the gun after he’d been punched to the ground and jumped on by at least half-a-dozen protesters.
That initial attack was missing from the initial protester’s clip — with the woman filming it suddenly cutting to a close up of her face as she screamed “he has a gun!” when he was being mobbed.
The gunman had quickly put down his gun and dropped to his knees, then belly, when an officer pounced on him with his own weapon drawn, the clips showed. He was released without charge.
“The evidence confirmed the physical altercation between numerous protestors and that the individual was knocked to the ground and under attack before lawfully defending himself,” the Tallahassee Police Department said.
“TPD confirmed that the individual with the gun was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon as a license holder.
“Fortunately, TPD intervened before the altercation escalated. Based on the totality of evidence, no assault charges have been applied to any of the individuals involved in the fight or the individual with the gun.
The fight started after he was first “pushed from behind” while “documenting the protest,” police said, as he seemingly took photos of protesters and their car plates. There were no reported injuries during what police noted was a “non-permitted protest.”
The incident came just hours before someone was shot dead during protests in Portland, Ore., and just days after two people were shot dead and another seriously injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Tensions are very high, and TPD is calling for protests and actions to remain peaceful. Verbal and physical altercations can quickly escalate into tragedy,” the force said in its statement.
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