While Ronald Rawls of Gainesville, Florida was assembling protestors, two city police officers were in the gazebo watching the Confederate memorial. Volunteer members of the Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine are planning to keep watch over the historic artifact overnight.
St Augustine Mayor Tracy Upchurch was observed at the Malaga Street Fire Station by one Historic City News reporter, as was city manager John Regan. Both men have turned the other cheek and placated Rawls despite growing calls for Rawls to be arrested.
But, if Fox isn’t allowed, or isn’t interested in making an arrest until someone gets injured, which appears to be the plan, why should we expect to see anyone modify their behavior to comply with the law?
One subscriber said, “Fox won’t arrest unless he has too. I know he’s scared about bringing more attention to St Augustine.”
On Rawls’ list of things that he is mad over are CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program loans, where large employers can obtain up to $10 million from an SBA approved bank or other lender. The loan is guaranteed by the federal government. So long as at least 75% of the amount is spent on retaining workers, the balance of the loan is forgiven. Rawls calls for “looting” as retribution, saying these big places “should get looted” because they stole all “our” stimulus money.
Rawls appeared on Fox 30 TV in Jacksonville where one police officer was stabbed in the neck yesterday. He was asked by the reporter “Will this be a peaceful demonstration?” Rawls never said. “yes”. Rather, as an act of defiance and intimidation, he quoted the words of Malcolm X in 1964, saying that the protestors would send a clear message that “consequences will follow” unjust treatment of “our people by any means necessary”.
Saturday evening, Rawls posted to his own facebook a public notice clarifying that his demonstration Monday night was not to be confused with other activities happening in St Augustine.
Rawls stated, “I LITERALLY CAN’T HANDLE CHEERING AND SINGING RIGHT NOW”.
He said, “I’M MAD”. Rawls wrote, “we are not in the mood to chant, sing, or cheer.” He went on to say, “We’re MAD and we need to send a message that consequences will follow unjust treatment of our people.
“His “Standing in Strength” protest was being held at 5:30 p.m. Monday in front of the St Augustine Police Department located at 151 King Street.