Follow the latest news on white nationalist Richard Spencer’s speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville:
Two people were arrested and five people injured in the hours surrounding white nationalist Richard Spencer’s talk on the University of Florida’s campus Thursday, according to authorities.
Sean Brijmohan, 28, of Orlando, faces charges of possessing a firearm on school property and 34-year-old David Notte, of Gainesville, faces charges of resisting an officer without violence.
Of the five injured, all injuries were minor and treated by fire rescue crews at the scene.
“Despite our worst fears of violence, the University of Florida and the Gainesville community showed the world that love wins,” UF President Kent Fuchs said in a statement.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office, The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and Vero Beach police were some of the more than 30 state agencies who assisted the university with security Thursday
Authorities said they “put lessons learned from the incidents in Charlottesville and Berkeley into practice today.”
Gainesville police said they are looking for information about the driver of a “Silver Jeep reportedly fired one shot and fled. Nobody hit,” at an intersection just south of where Richard Spencer spoke earlier today.
No one was injured in the shooting.
Police said two groups of people were arguing near the CVS at the intersection of Archer Road and 34th Street. One group walked away and the other is believed to have left in the Jeep. The Jeep then drove by the group who walked away, fired a weapon once then fled the area, police said.
Police said it’s unclear if the shooting is connected to Spencer’s event.
Reports of a single shot fired at 34th/Archer just before 5:30p. White male in Silver Jeep reportedly fired one shot and fled. Nobody hit.— Gainesville Police (@GainesvillePD) October 19, 2017
As people made their way out of the speech, authorities kept space between them and protesters.
Some protesters chanted, “Nazi scum” at Richard Spencer supporters and some chased others away from the area, according to multiple reporters at the scene.
UF Public Safety tweeted the event is over and that Spencer has left the campus.
Update: Richard Spencer event has concluded and he has left the University of Florida campus.— UF Public Safety (@UFPublicSafety) October 19, 2017
About 450 of the 700 tickets provided for the event were scanned, according to UF student journalist Martin Vassolo.
Andrew Sack, 20-year-old UF student from Boca Raton, said the protest “went as well as it could have.”
“To see the support from the Gainesville community for Jewish people and people of color ... makes me feel very safe,” Sack said.
The speech concludes
At 4:05 p.m., Richard Spencer signed off after an hour and a half of that was interrupted and often drowned out by a heckling audience.
In his closing remarks, Spencer said, “You think that you shut me down, but you didn’t. And in terms of the larger game you’re playing, you failed even harder. ... You acted this way and the world is not going to be proud of you. The world is going to think this university is made up of children.”
Spencer said he believes there are people there who wanted to have a dialog, but they weren’t heard.
“I am glad the world saw this,” he said.
The audience was vocal from the moment they entered the building.
The event began with some boos
At 2:35 p.m. Spencer’s ‘warm up act’ was booed, according to Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeff Weiner who is in the room.
The venue seats about 800 and 15 minutes ago, it was maybe half full.
“A significant portion of the crowd is here to disrupt,” reports Weiner. “Now booing and jeering a speaker with Identity Europa.”
“Black lives Matter” chant rises
Spencer not on stage yet, but chant carries over the guy who is, reports Jacksonville Times-Union reporter Tessa Duvall.
This video from Orlando Sentinel’s Weiner:
At 2:52 p.m. Spencer took the stage, “greeted by dozens in the audience standing with hands raised and chanting: “Say it loud, say it clear, Nazis are not welcome here.”
At 3 p.m. Spencer began to fire back.
“You are cartoonish, you’re worse than what most people say about the left,” Spencer said, according to Dara Kam of The News Service of Florida.
Keeping track of the chants
Journalists in the venue report the crowd has embraced several:
Other chants so far:— Jeff Weiner (@JeffWeinerOS) October 19, 2017
"Go home Nazis, go home."
"We won't back down."
"Alt-right, you can't hide, you support genocide."#SpencerAtUF
And, because it’s Gainesville, “Let’s go Gators, let’s go.”
Spencer replied: “Woo, sportsball! That’s a real great use of your time!”
“We have a tremendous amount of support around the country,” Spencer said. Visibly frustrated with a loud audience, Spencer says, “You think this is going to be read as great victory for UF? No ... all the world hears is a bunch of screeching morons.”
At 3:19 p.m. The friction between Spencer and the audience is palpable. One person in the audience asking, “What are you still doing here?” His reply, “I’m speaking and I’m not leaving.”
A man asked how Spencer envisions creating an ‘ethnostate’. Despite pleas from the questioner that the audience let Spencer fall by his own words, the boos and shouts drown out much of Spencer’s answer.
Outside, at about the same time, this tweet from a UF student journalist:
Someone asks about Spencer’s upbringing. While he describes growing up “in a bubble in the suburbs,” his words are competing with chants : “We don’t care” and “Go home, Spencer, go home.”
Spencer and members of the audience are hitting on points including the Supreme Court and the “heckler’s veto” and racism and the bible, but the questions and answers are being drummed down by a loud audience.
“You’re behavior is not going to go over very well,” Spencer tells the gathering.
Meanwhile, outside there are reports of a man with swastikas on his shirt getting punched.
An update on the day’s first and possibly only arrest so far
Alachua County Sheriff’s office reports on Twitter that the person arrested was “armed security hired by media. Had firearm on campus against Fl Statute.” Details to follow, according to the tweet.
The sheriff’s office reports the man is a 28-year-old from Orlando.
Arrested Man ID as Sean Brijmohan 28 YOA from Orlando FL. Arrested under FS790.115(2)(c)1 Carrying Firearm on School Property. pic.twitter.com/uY5B2EXtCU— Alachua Co. Sheriff (@AlachuaSheriff) October 19, 2017
Tickets handed out as rain falls
Some 500 tickets were available to the event and with a half hour until the speech begins, they are being handed out at the gate, Palm Beach Post reporter Paige Fry reports.
Inside, security is tight.
Spencer holds a press conference
At 12:45 p.m., Spencer opened his press conference by arguing with an NBC reporter. He wanted a retraction regarding a report by the Today Show. He says tickets are being handed out to anyone who wants to attend in “good faith,” according to news accounts.
Spencer blames Antifa for the violence in Charlottesville and “likens his desire for a white ‘ethno-state’ in North America to Jews who sought to establish Israel decades ago.” - Jeff Weiner, reporter for the Orlando Sentinel
“The alt-right is a revolutionary movement, we think another world is possible,” Spencer said. In that spirit, he aslo said, the “It would be ... a better, more beautiful world if people like me were in power.”
Mother Nature may rain on this parade
The weather service radar shows storms just southeast of Gainesville.
A view of the action
From an editor of The Alligator, romy Ellenbogen:
An arrest was reported at about 11:33 a.m.:
Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeff Weiner tweeted: “A guy with a press pass had a holstered firearm on his hip. Affliation unclear.”
Just saw what's believed to be the first arrest of the day. A guy with a press pass had a holstered firearm on his hip. Affiliation unclear. pic.twitter.com/Uum3LZbgsC— Jeff Weiner (@JeffWeinerOS) October 19, 2017
Protesters are on the move
Shortly after noon: As they start on their trek down 34th Street, they can be heard chanting, “We don’t want that Nazi hate. Not in our town. Not in our state,” reports Paige Fry.
Protesters begin to gather
Shortly before noon, our correspondent reports a gathering crowd.
Bunch of protesters here at 34th and 20th preparing to walk toward the Phillips Center at noon. pic.twitter.com/CqTJl8n79p— Paige Fry (@paigexfry) October 19, 2017
Zach Amrose a UF student from Jupiter talks about why he’s protesting.
Former West Palm Beach residents Jessica McLeod, 26, and Cynthia Beeenink, 48, now live in Gainesville and were out to protest Thursday.
All’s quiet for now
At 11 a.m., UF journalism student Ian Cohen reports the only folks outside the Phillips Center are about 100 journalists.
And this from a Gainesville Sun reporter:
What not to bring
Authorities have made a long list of banned items and they are posted on Hull Road, the east-west stretch that runs past the Phillips Center:
Weapons, Firearms, Tasers, knives, sharp objects, lighters, matches, torches, any kind of athletic equipment that can be used as a weapon, shields, fireworks, backpacks, purses, metal cans, glass bottles, wagons, coolers, pets, propane tanks, bicycles, skateboards, megaphones, laser pointers, umbrellas and even tobacco products.
UF’s president speaks to CNN
At 8:45 a.m. UF President W. Kent Fuchs told CNN that he was confident the school would keep people safe during Spencer's speech. He also said it was unfortunate the school had to bear the security costs, which are expected to top $600,000 - the equivalent to the tuition of thousands of students. .
“His words have absolutely no value,” Fuchs said. “We welcome people from all races, all ethnicity, and certainly all region and skin color. We understand now, even more clearly, what (Spencer) is about, which is an Anti-American message.”
Plans to protest
The UF student group No Nazis At UF says it will gather at noon across from the Phillips Center and that it plans to march to the performing arts building shortly thereafter.
A recap of Charlottesville, Va.
Often credited as the person who coined the term “alt-right,” Spencer was to be a featured speaker at the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Va., but authorities stopped that event from taking place — declaring it an “unlawful assembly” — after protests turned violent.
One person was killed and 19 others injured that afternoon when a car rammed a group of protesters after authorities ordered the crowds to disperse.
UF’s campus closures for Thursday
NPI organizer Cameron Padgett tweets, local bar replies via Facebook
Spencer’s National Policy Institute is controlling tickets and media access to his speech. One of its organizers was rebuffed Wednesday night when he tried to trade two tickets for a free beer at a downtown bar that had offered that promotion, the Gainesville Sun reported.
The organizer, Cameron Padgett, was asked to leave Tall Paul’s, the Sun said. Padgett claimed he was discriminated against. The bar said on its Facebook page that “his friendly demeanor changed from naive and friendly to aggressive and concerning” once he began live Tweeting from inside the bar.