Manatee County Commissioners vote to move Confederate monument following arrests, massive protest

Sheriff: Protester arrested wearing body armor

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - In a 4-3 vote, the Manatee county commissioners voted to move the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse in Bradenton Tuesday afternoon.

The majority votes included Benac, Whitmore, Trace and Smith. The dissenting votes were from DiSabatino, Baugh and Jonsson.

The county cited public safety as one of the reasons, saying that until a decision can be made, with public input, as to an equally prominent and respectful replacement location, it will be temporarily moved elsewhere. Locations being considered include the Veterans Memorial Park adjacent to the Manatee River and Gamble Plantation.

The vote came less than 24 hours after hundreds of people, for and against the statue, clashed on the steps of the old courthouse.

RELATED: 3 arrested during dueling protests in Bradenton

"It was definitely a small victory," Gregory Cruz said. Cruz helped organize the protest to remove the statue. 

"I don't think it belongs in public space honestly," Cruz said. "For the fight for equality and social justice to be won, we are going to need black people to stand with white people. And, for the LGBTQ community to be free they are going to have to have straight people standing with them. If not none of our causes are going to be there."

They voted to get public input as to where to move it. But it will be moved first, with relocation decisions coming later on.

Despite hundreds of protesters out on Monday, one woman showed up with signs to keep the statue where it currently stands.

"I think it's absolutely ludacris," Mary Delaney said. "I'm really upset about it, I really am...people that see it as hate are way to sensitive. Right now,  I am ashamed, very ashamed that these people are getting over on the government and they are crying about nonsense."

Three people were arrested during Monday’s protest.

ABC Action News learned that one of the protesters charged, William Snow, traveled to Bradenton from his home in Jacksonville to protest the removal of the confederate monument.

According to reports from the Florida Times Union, Snow, was detained after getting involved in a fight at an anti-war protest. The paper reported, “Snow wading through the crowd, taunting and filming people while wielding the flag and a megaphone.”

ABC Action News watched Snow go from person to person at Monday’s Bradenton rally to voice his opinion. At first, Snow was passionate about his opinions, but not aggressive. As hundreds of protesters, in favor of removing the monument. marched on the courthouse square, ABC Action News took video of Snow ripping up protesters signs and swinging his flag into other protesters. Manatee Deputies quickly de-escalated the situation and took Snow to jail.

Another protester, in support of having the Confederate monument removed, was also arrested. Daron Edward-Hays was arrested after deputies say he charged a crowd of counter protesters that ripped a flag of it’s pole.  ABC Action News cameras also recorded video of this incident that showed Edward-Hays Antifa flag getting pulled, and him charging the crowd.  According to the arrests report, Edward-Hays backpack “contained a standard hammer, 2 plastic bottles containing rotten milk, a glass jar containing an unknown liquid. The defendant was also discovered to be wearing body armor.” 

Another man, Cory Robinson, was arrested for disturbing the peace.

There is no timetable as of now for the move.

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