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Tallahassee: Community demands dropping charges against Ben Grant and Tally 19

By staff

Tallahassee, FL – On October 28 the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) gathered with other community groups to demand State Attorney Jack Campbell drop felony charges against Ben Grant and all members of the #Tally19, a group of protesters who were arrested for participating in a Black Lives Matter protest in Tallahassee.

“We need to drop the [felony] charges against the #Tally19. It makes no sense. It’s anti-Black and it’s anti-queer and we need this to stop now. We need CPAC now, we need the People’s Budget now, and we need to drop the charges,” said Ariel Ynovy, a leading organizer for Black Voters Matter. Ynovy referenced the People’s Budget, a project TCAC has been working on to reallocate the police budget to other social sectors, and community control of the police.

Alex Carson, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), denounced the Florida State University Police Department for their role in attacking the Tally19, stating, “On September 5, 2020, FSUPD was among the five law enforcement agencies present for the violent ambush of our community members. If you ask FSUPD why they were present that day, standing along cops in riot gear, they will say they were there to keep students safe. As an FSU student who was there, let me tell you, this could not be farther than the truth.”

Others pointed out the hypocrisy of the City Commission in their superficial support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Lauren Brenzel from Planned Parenthood said, “The arrest of peaceful protesters sent a clear message to Tallahassee citizens and citizens all over our state and that was an embarrassing message. But at the same time that we were painting Black Lives Matter in intersections, we were criminalizing defending Black lives.”

Tally19 member Ben Grant talked about his fears and worries about how the charges could affect his future and his life. They won’t just affect him, but his entire family and community. “I worry about if my family will be okay, if going down to a single income, they’ll be able to live. [If we] will we lose our home. If they’ll be able to eat. We have the love and support of our community but that doesn’t pay the bills.”

Students for a Democratic Society, the Florida Coalition For Transgender Liberation, Planned Parenthood, and Black Voters Matter all sponsored and participated in this event.

Speakers reiterated the need for the dropping of all charges but especially an end to the felony charges placed on Ben Grant. TCAC invited members to attend Ben’s pretrial at 1:30 p.m. and his trial, which will take place November 2 or 3 at 8:30 a.m. It will be at the Leon Clerk of Courts Office, Courtroom 2F. No one wearing clothes or apparel supporting the Tally19 or TCAC will be allowed in, and attendees must also wear long pants and professional clothing.

#TallahasseeFL #PeoplesStruggles #PoliticalRepression #TallahasseeCommunityActionCommitteeTCAC #Tallahassee19