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Dream Defender protests costing taxpayers thousands

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Updated: 7/26/2013 11:32 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says the Dream Defenders protests in the state Capitol have cost taxpayers nearly $149,000 in added security.

The FDLE says its staffing has doubled since the demonstrations began 11 days ago. Friday evening, agents from the FDLE Tallahassee regional operations center were called in so the capitol police force can get some rest.

Meanwhile the Dream Defenders are not showing any signs of leaving. Until their demands are met, the activist group has vowed to occupy the governor's office, even if it means spending the night on the the floor. 

"First off, that Gov. Scott calls a special legislative session to hear our desire for a Trayvon Law to be passed," said Dante Rucker, Vice President of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Dream Defenders.

Gov. Rick Scott has rejected the group's request to convene a special session but they're not taking no for an answer.

With their lengthy stay, comes a hefty bill.

According to FDLE, the demonstrations have cost taxpayers an estimated $148,942. In overtime pay alone, the price tag is upward of $50,000.

"It is certainly challenging. Capitol police are now working two shifts. They're not getting days off. They're working straight through," said Gretl Plessinger, FDLE spokesperson.

Rucker says knowing they're causing the security bill to go up won't stop them from doing what they set out to do.

"We believe the power for change is in our hands. We believe it. We sleep on that, we think about that. It's the steering wheel that's driving this vehicle," said Rucker.

Plessinger says they have not had any major clashes with the protesters. The rallies have remained peaceful.

The Dream Defenders say all they want is to be heard and hope state lawmakers will take notice.

On Friday, bus loads of supporters arrived from Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington D.C. According to Rucker, about 350 people have joined them and about 120 plan to sleep at the Capitol tonight.

In the coming days, the Dream Defenders will be working to collect 25,000 signatures to petition the lawmakers to convene a special session on the Stand Your Ground law. Rucker says so far they've collected 35.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

nativejax - 7/27/2013 8:56 PM
0 Votes
Thank you too murphette...I'M ON A ROLL TONIGHT!

murphette88 - 7/27/2013 7:10 PM
0 Votes
Uh oh! Everyone watch out. Shes writing the truth :)

nativejax - 7/27/2013 5:54 PM
0 Votes
Your quite welcome tlynn..Hope everyone's enjoying Gods 'rolling thunder' outside as I type these truths!!!!!!!

nativejax - 7/27/2013 5:52 PM
0 Votes
Oh and I am quite sure Mr. Richards won't mind either, but please feel free to COPY, PRINT and SPREAD the last two comments ALL OVER AMERICA with the p.s. "WE ARE TAKING OUR RIGHTS AND OUR COUNTRY BACK". "YOU DON'T LIKE IT? THEN LEAVE"

tlynn - 7/27/2013 5:51 PM
0 Votes
Wow…Great speech! Thanks for that nativejax!!!

nativejax - 7/27/2013 5:41 PM
4 Votes
This is very interesting... I have been wondering about why Whites are racists, and no other race is... Proud to be White Michael Richards makes his point... Michael Richards better known as Kramer from TVs' Seinfeld does make a good point. This was his defense speech in court after making racial comments in his comedy act. In it he raised a few interesting points... Someone finally said it. But how many are actually paying attention to this? There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, etc. And then there are just Americans... You pass me on the street and sneer in my direction. You call me 'White boy', 'Cracker', 'H@nkey', 'Whitey', 'Caveman'... And that's OK... But when I call you N@gger, K@ke, Towel head, Sand-n@gger, Camel Jockey, Beaner, Gook, or Ch@nk... You call me a racist. You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you... So why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live in? You have the United Negro College Fund. You have Martin Luther King Day. You have Black History Month. You have Cesar Chavez Day. You have Yom Hashoah. You have Ma'uled Al-Nabi. You have the NAACP. You have BET...

nativejax - 7/27/2013 5:38 PM
4 Votes
CONT: Imagine if we had WET (White Entertainment Television)... we'd be racists. If we had a White Pride Day, you would call us racists. If we had White History Month, we'd be racists. If we had any organization for whites only to 'advance' OUR lives, we'd be racists. We have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Black Chamber of Commerce, and then we just have the plain Chamber of Commerce. Wonder who pays for that??? A white woman could not be in the Miss Black American pageant, but any color can be in the Miss America pageant. If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships... You know we'd be racists. There are over 60 openly proclaimed Black Colleges in the US ... Yet if there were 'White colleges', that would be a racist college. In the Million Men March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists. You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you're not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists. You rob us, carjack us, and shoot at us. But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist. I am proud... But you call me a racist. Why is it that only whites can be racists??? That's why we have LOST most of OUR RIGHTS in this country. We won't stand up for ourselves! BE PROUD TO BE WHITE! It's not a crime YET... But getting very close!

Realchange - 7/27/2013 3:21 PM
1 Vote
They have dream for America. It's a victim on every corner for every black man thug to attack. No guns to make it safer for criminals to do their activities in safety. No stand your ground laws to protect citizens from criminals that attack them. Rape goes up who cares saved a black man, robberies go up again saved a black man, murders go up well if black man kills you then you deserve it.Every hood in the hood raise your hands in the air for a new crime spree courtesy of the Dream Defenders. Tomorrow night they going light up some pot and drink some purple lean to celebrate Trayvon Martin's real personage. If it sounds bad that's because while being sarcastic it is true. They want make street crime for blacks easier to get away with. Don't like someone following you and your black you can now attack safely thanks to the Dream Defenders they have dream for other races in America and its not a good one.

Papakilo - 7/27/2013 12:53 PM
3 Votes
If the Dream Defenders just wanted to get heard and get their message across, they have! But, that's not what they really want, and that is obvious. One or two days of peaceful protest, news media, TV coverage, enough is enough. There must be a point where THEY start paying the extra costs for security. This has gone too far. They are wasting precious tax dollars, after they made their point. The governor has spoken, now the protesters need to be physically removed from the building or face jail and steep fines. They can rent some property and move their group elsewhere. There can be no justice when individuals desire to force change laws which are in place to protect the majority of taxpayers.

Realchange - 7/27/2013 12:51 PM
1 Vote
Maybe now you would like to read about his trying to buy street guns? Oh wait he was good kid. Would never attack anyone and make them bleed for snitching on him. Wouldn't be caught with stolen jewelry. Wouldn't smoke pot and drink purple drank aka purple lean. Wouldn't be in fight in school and out every time he turned around. Look the street guns up for yourself he was not a good kid or innocent he was thug in the making. Stealing, attacking people, doing whatever he wanted when he wanted. Ran into Zimmerman got pissed at him and attacked. Such a good good boy one Obama would be proud of.
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