Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chatter: White Supremacists Could Protest In Jacksonville

downtown Jacksonville skyline
Rob Bixby via Flickr

A day after Jacksonville’s City Council President called for removing Confederate monuments, Mayor Lenny Curry said white supremacists are already talking about protesting.

The groups whomarched in Virginia over the weekend aren’t welcome in the his city, Curry said Tuesday.

He said Sheriff Mike Williams told him that chatter suggests neo-Nazis and white supremacists could protest Council President Anna Lopez-Brosche’s decision. She’s calling for an inventory of Confederate memorials before they’re moved to museums.

At a political event with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Jacksonville Tuesday, Curry said he’s reserving judgement on moving Confederate statues, monuments and placards, and he cautioned city officials to tread lightly.

“These outside groups that were in Charlottesville are already talking about coming to Jacksonville. We want to keep those groups out of our city, and we want to work together with our community to have a civil discourse,” he said.

Scott, who signed a bill removing Florida’s Confederate general statue from the U.S. Capitol last year, also won’t say whether he supports Lopez-Brosche’s call.

“Issues like the monuments — they need to be discussed, they need to be reviewed. At the local level, they can make a decision. At the state level, we get to make a decision. At the federal level, they get to make a decision,” he said. “But we need to go through a process.”

After Scott signed off on the Confederate-statue replacement, state lawmakers have not yet decided who should go in his place. In a tweet Tuesday morning, South Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called for a special session to be convened this fall to make that decision. The next regular state lawmaking session starts in January.

Meanwhile, white supremacist leader Richard Spencer this week was issued a permit to speak at the University of Florida. Scott has pledged state help in keeping violence at bay on the Gainesville campus.

Photoused under Creative Commons license. 

Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at@RyanMichaelBenk.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.