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Florida: Tally19 press conference demands ‘Drop the felony charges against protester’

Sheriffs disrupt press event, anti-protest law denounced
By staff |
February 23, 2021
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Tallahassee, FL - On February 11, several Tally19ers planned an 11 a.m. press conference downtown at the Clerk of Courts across from the Capitol, in support of Tally19er Ben Grant, who is the only one still facing felony charges. Grant was due in court that morning.

Trish Brown said, “We are here to demand that Jack Campbell, the state attorney, drop the charges against community member Ben Grant.”

Brown continued, “We are coming together to show solidarity, love and support. We also have to remind the city that our fight is nowhere near over.”

Recently, Tally19ers, fellow protesters, and loved ones took some relief in receiving good news that two other Tally19ers facing charges of felony had their charges consolidated and reduced to misdemeanor.

Before the press conference was to officially begin, Leon County Sheriff Officers shut down the formal press conference during sound setup. However, theTally19 did not let this setback deter them from speaking out. Shortly after, they organized in the courtyard, without amplified sound.

They held signs that read, “Free the Tally19!” “End police violence,” “CPAC now!” “Stop SB484 & HB1” and “Drop the charges”

Ben Grant faces a possible sentence of ten years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Tally19ers and attendees also gathered in opposition to the anti-protest legislation from Ron DeSantis. Brown also stressed the importance of this, “We must also prevent our fascist Governor DeSantis from succeeding in his campaign to silence Floridians, civilians and protesters with these anti-protest bills. Senate Bill 484 and House Bill 1 will destroy our constitutional right to freedom of speech, the right to assemble and the right to rally and assemble.”

“If we held our September 5 event where 14 of us were arrested and charged with unjust attacks under the proposed HB1 and SBS484 we would all still be in jail. We would have all third-degree felony charges, spend a minimum of six months in jail, we would never be able to apply for jobs with the state of Florida or hold office and we would not get bail until first appearance.

“This bill has wide implications, not just for activists at a protest. It spells trouble for people asking for donations on the streets, sign-holding at crosswalks for election campaigns, marching from the church in Soul to Polls, innocent bystanders at rallies, marches at protests - it affects everyone in Florida.

“That is why we continued to speak out at the Clerk of Courts. Even though the press conference was shut down, it was still a success because we [Tally19] stood up and spoke out for what is right,” said Brown.

Ben Grant has a pretrial hearing on February 25 and court starting on March 1.