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Leon County Issues Week-Long Curfew; Draws Some Backlash

Ryan Dailey, WFSU
People march on Tallahassee’s north side. The group went all the way from midtown to here, up Thomasville Road, crossing under I-10. One of the busiest intersections in town in the afternoons came to a standstill as they passed

Leon County is extending a curfew that had expired Monday morning. The move comes at the request of local agencies. Large groups in Tallahassee and around the country are protesting the killings of black people at the hands of law enforcement, including most recently, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Some of the nationwide protests have turned violent. Those in Tallahassee have largely remained peaceful, aside from an incident over the weekend when a truck accelerated into protestors marching downtown. Police and State Attorney Jack Campbell are investigating the circumstances.

Demonstrations continued in the city today, though with fewer people. They were also peaceful.

In a statement announcing the curfew extension Leon County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge said, "While we respect the right of individuals to peacefully protest, our first obligation remains ensuring the safety of our community.”

That drew a rebuke from Gus Corbella, a lobbyist.

"The Leon County WEEKLONG curfew is an egregious and unnecessary overreach by local officials," Corbella wrote on twitter.

"While I appreciate the commitment to safety, respectfully, in the absence of any violence or credible threat thereof, this is just an infringement on the civil liberties of all law abiding citizens and an unnecessary overreach which should only be used sparingly," he said.

Leon County Republican Party Chairman Evan Power agreed with Corbella's statement.

Desloge says local law enforcement groups are "hearing a lot of chatter" and notes a few, larger protests are being planned. He told WFSU News he's "ok erring on the side of caution," and notes "nothing good happens after midnight."

The curfew goes into effect tonight (June 2) at 11 p.m. and will last until next Monday, June 8.

During those hours, residents are being told to stay in their homes. Individuals can leave to go to and from work, seek healthcare services or emergency vet services or walk their pets on their property.

According to the county, the Leon County Sheriffs Office, the state attorney’s office and the city of Tallahassee requested the curfew.

It comes a day after local officials, including State Attorney Jack Campbell, City Manager Reese Goad, Police Chief Lawrence Revell and City Mayor John Dailey promised thorough investigations of the officer-involved killing of Tony McDade, who was shot after he allegedly stabbed 21-year-old Malik Jackson to death.

The officer who killed McDade has not been named and is claiming victim privacy rights under the Marsy’s Law—which voters added to the state constitution in 2018.

Investigations are ongoing.

*Editors Note: The original story referred to Corbella in the context of his employer. Corbella is speaking his personal opinion.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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