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State Attorney says charges for protest incident still on the table

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:07 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A protestor in the middle of Saturday’s tense scene outside the Old Capitol is sharing their perspective on what went down after a march for racial injustice turned scary for many.

On Sunday, Tallahassee Police issued a statement saying no one connected to the incident will face criminal charges. But, on Monday, State Attorney Jack Campbell is saying “not so fast” to that claim.

Aaron Brock tells WCTV he was trying to be a good Samaritan, as he ran toward an altercation before dropping to his knees after a gun was pulled during the scene.

An officer quickly came to the incident to de-escalate the situation.

“The only thing through my mind is ’I don’t want to die, I don’t want to get shot right now, I don’t want to die while I’m sitting here,’” Brock said. “That’s why I dropped to my knees, my hands up in the air. I’m trying t show this man please don’t kill me.”

Brock says he’s unhappy with the initial decision not to file charges, saying the man who drew the gun started the initial fistfight with a shove.

TPD’s statement says the opposite is true.

Campbell says things could still change.

“Just because we didn’t arrest somebody on Saturday night is not closing the door to suggest that we would never,” Campbell said. “Nor is it anyway absolving anyone of their responsibility for their actions on Saturday.”

Campbell says it’s hard to know all the facts in any case and that it can take time.

WCTV Legal Analyst Joe Bodiford said these cases are some of the most complex prosecutors ever have to sort through.

“This whole thing lasts a matter of seconds, and the dynamic changes several times,” he said.

Bodiford said prosecutors are looking at the incident from every perspective, including from the man who draws a weapon.

“Was he still reasonably under the impression he could still be attacked?,” Bodiford said.

Who landed the first shove and punch remains hazy, but Bodiford said it may not matter.

“Even if you start a fight, you can still use non-deadly force to protect yourself if the force begins to overwhelm you.”

He cautioned gun owners from relying on self-defense or stand your ground laws for protection in these kinds of situations, advising no one to “bring a handgun to a fist fight.”

His office is encouraging anyone with video that shows a new angle, or is a witness to the scene, to speak up and share their account with authorities.

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