‘By appointment or invitation only:’ New Jacksonville City Hall signs spark outrage

The signs come after two protests at City Hall within the last two weeks, demanded the removal of a Confederate monument in Springfield Park.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A welcome sign that one might not expect — new signs at the Jacksonville City Hall were put up at the beginning of the week by the city, not allowing anyone past the first floor without an invitation.

The signs come after two protests at City Hall within the last two weeks, demanded the removal of a Confederate monument in Springfield Park.

STORY: Jacksonville police: 4 teens accused of burglarizing cars linked to Labor Day standoff

“Do we think this is directed at us? Yes, you’d have to be blind to not recognize what is going on here,” Ben Frazier said.

Frazier, who is with the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, says it’s a violation of their right to protest and wants Mayor Lenny Curry to stick to his word of taking down all Confederate monuments.

“City Hall is the people’s house the mayor should be most interested in reasoning with us,” Frazier said. “We think we’d like to sit down and explain to him why those Confederate monuments need to be removed and why those signs need to be removed.”

Action News Jax was told by a city spokesperson the signs were put up at the beginning of the week and came from attorneys with the city.

Action News Jax asked the city twice through emails if the signs were put up because of protests and if the mayor would be available to speak. We were told by the spokesperson: “We have no further comment,” and are letting the signs do the talking.

Frazier claims the signs are illegal, but our law and safety expert, Dale Carson, who has years of experience in the FBI and police force, said calling the signs illegal is a stretch.

“They’re not doing it to protect employees from COVID, they’re doing it for a reason that is unclear,” Carson said. “It’s not an ordinance, it’s not a law, its a suggestion written by an administrator somewhere who doesn’t have my authority to offer laws that I must abide by.”

STORY: ‘You left our baby’: Family pleads for driver to come forward in deadly hit-and-run

The signs ask you to be respectful of the employees and keep the noise level down not to disrupt any work. Anybody who violates what’s asked can be considered trespassing and even arrested if they refuse to leave.

“We hope we were disrupting the work. Yes that’s absolutely correct and we will continue to disrupt the work,” Frazier said.

Frazier says The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville will continue to protest, saying they will do so peacefully and make their voices heard.

Action News Jax also asked the city how all of the new sign rules will be enforced, but has yet to receive a response.