GAINESVILLE, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency on Monday for Alachua County ahead of a speech by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer at the University of Florida on Thursday, October 19, 2017.
The Governor’s declaration comes following a request from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell to assist local law enforcement’s response to rallies and counter-demonstrations planned on the University of Florida campus.
Scott’s Executive Order activates Florida’s Mutual Aid Plan which allows the state and Sheriff Darnell to quickly coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.
“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” said Governor Scott.
“I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this Executive Order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource. This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”
“BREAKING: Hurricane Ricardo expected to hit Gainesville this Thursday,” Spencer tweeted in response to the State of Emergency which are more commonly declared when a hurricane approaches the Sunshine State.
“I urge our campus community to join together, respect one another and promote positive speech, while allowing for differing opinions,” said University of Florida W. Kent Fuchs. “It is up to every student, faculty member, staff member, and myself to demonstrate our university values of respect and inclusion in all that we do. We have an opportunity to lead the way.”