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Tallahassee Mayor Requests National Guard Troops After Violent Protests Threatened

The Florida capitol
News Service of Florida
The Republican-proposed 15-week abortion ban, House Bill 5, passed its second House committee review last week.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in North Florida also arrested a man they believed was calling on people to go to the state Capitol on Sunday and use firearms to stop protesters.

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey on Friday asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to deploy Florida National Guard troops to Tallahassee.

The request is reacting to threats of possible violent demonstrations this weekend related to Wednesday's inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States.

If the governor does not activate the National Guard, Dailey said the city will mobilize all available local law enforcement personnel around the Capitol.

"As the mayor of Tallahassee, I certainly hope there's no violence this weekend or leading up to next week,” Dailey said. “But hope is not a plan. We have to be prepared and we have to remain vigilant."

Florida Capitol Police said in a statement on Friday it was aware of a FBI memo warning of possible violence at the Capitol.

Earlier Friday, The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Florida said it arrested a man they believed was calling on people to go to the state Capitol on Sunday and use firearms to stop protesters.

Daniel Baker of Tallahassee was charged with transmission, in interstate commerce, of a communication containing a threat to kidnap or to injure.

A criminal complaint said Baker “issued a call to arms for like-minded individuals” to confront protestors gathered at the Florida Capitol on Sunday, asking others to join him in encircling protestors and confining them at the Capitol complex using firearms.

A court document describes a series of threats of violence and a prediction of civil war Baker made on social media. Baker is described as anti-Trump, anti-government, anti-white supremacists and anti-police.

“Extremists intent on violence from either end of the political and social spectrums must be stopped, and they will be stopped,” said Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. “The diligent work in this case by the FBI and other public safety organizations has averted a crisis with this arrest, and we will not stop in our efforts to detect, deter, and disrupt anyone else planning to incite or commit violence.”

Information from The Associated Press and WFSU News was used in this report.

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