A counter-protester who pulled out a gun during a riot during a Black Lives Matter protest in Tallahassee, Florida, “defended himself legally” on Saturday night and will not face criminal charges, according to the police department.
The Tallahassee Police Department made the announcement on Sunday after reviewing a video of the incident from several sources and other evidence before the State Prosecutor’s Office.
About 150 protesters at the Black Lives Matter gathered in front of the historic Florida Capitol and blocked traffic on Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway, the Tallahassee Democrat said. The protest was organized without “prior warning or coordination with the TPD to ensure safety,”
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“During the protest, a white man entered the crowd and began documenting the protest. “This individual was pushed from behind by a white protester, which led to a physical altercation between the individual and several other white men,” Tallahassee police said. “During the fighting, the individual was knocked to the ground. He got to his feet and brandished a pistol. TPD officers quickly engaged, took the person into custody and peacefully dispersed the crowd. No injuries were reported.
“Evidence confirms the physical altercation between numerous protesters and that the person was knocked to the ground and attacked before legally defending himself,” the department said, adding that it confirmed that the person with the gun “was legally carrying a concealed weapon with a license. ”
Police officers at the scene intervened before the fight escalated. No charges have been filed against anyone involved in the battle or the person with the gun.
It is not clear what caused the fight, but protesters at the scene told the Tallahassee Democrat that the person who later brandished a gun was a counter-protester and began arguing with protesters and taking pictures of their license plates.
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A video with a viral cell phone of the incident shows a crowd of protesters around the man. Then a fistfight broke out and the woman holding the camera in the fight shouted, “He has a gun,” while others ran.
The video then shows the man pointing his gun at a protester who fell to his knees with his hands up. Police officers use their own weapons to attack the armed man and tell him to drop his pistol before handcuffing him.