Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Richard Spencer Speech

Rick Scott's declaration will allow local law enforcement near the University of Florida to coordinate better with state officials ahead of the white nationalist's speech

 In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, speaks at the Texas A&M University campus
AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File

The governor of Florida has declared a state of emergency to prepare for a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer on Thursday at the University of Florida.

The declaration, made by Gov. Rick Scott, will allow law enforcement in Alachua County, where the university is located, to coordinate better with state officials and buy equipment more quickly. University officials have said they intend to spend $500,000 on security for the talk. Sheriff Sadie Darnell told The Washington Post that she would be buying radios to improve communication between all of the affected security agencies.

“We have looked at what happened in Charlottesville and Berkeley,” Darnell said. “We’re not being alarmist. But we want to be prepared.”

A march led by Spencer in August at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville led to fights with counterprotesters, which escalated the following day, leading to a woman’s death at the hands of an “alt-right” car driver.

Spencer told the Post that he had been cooperative with the university and that if there is violence, it won’t be started by his side.

“It’s these antifa groups,” Spencer said. “They’re thugs. Nasty, nasty people.”

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