Another protest happened Tuesday in Naples after four people were arrested Monday night during a protest in the city.
Both days, protesters of all colors knelt, united in their demands for justice. When the crowd of people started to move, Collier County sheriff’s deputies, Naples police officers and state troopers stepped in to help keep the peace – and keep everyone safe.
At Tuesday evening’s protest, which happened at times in pouring rain, some officers were even seen holding signs to show solidarity with the protesters and their cause.
“I’m speechless,” said Amy Myftari of Naples.
“We’re protesting something that’s just been happening way too long; it’s been happening for years,” said a protester who didn’t want to be identified.
“We can put up with a little rain. We are Floridians,” said a protester named Allie.
They started at the Collier County courthouse and walked for more than four hours on Tuesday, sometimes kneeling in the streets under the watchful eye of law enforcement.
Although a few people were seen being handcuffed, many people agreed Tuesday’s protest was a lot calmer than Monday’s.
“I feel like until everyone comes together, whether you are black, white, Latino, Mexican, whatever it may be, until all minorities come together as a unit, there will be no outcome,” said the unidentified protester.
While leaving the scene of Tuesday evening’s protest, WINK News ran across some vulgar graffiti being removed from a wall across from the sheriff’s office at the government center.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that four people were arrested during Monday’s protest, which started at the county courthouse and made its way through downtown Naples, an area that law enforcement kept protesters away from Tuesday.
WINK News safety and security specialist Rich Kolko watched the video from Monday’s events and called the protest and policing a success.
“The police bar for getting arrested, I’m sure they wanted it to be pretty high. They do not want to have lock people up who are exercising their First Amendment right, so if they are only locking up three or four people at the end of the day, I consider it a success on both sides,” Kolko said.
“We wanted to make sure that we are here to protect a person’s rights to free speech and demonstrate peacefully,” said Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk.
The protesters were loud at times but it remained peaceful from start to finish.
Kolko said it’s important to keep in mind that a peaceful protest can change in an instant.
“This is a problem; now you have people starting to throw stuff at the officers and that’s going to escalate things quickly,” Kolko said while watching video of a tense moment during Monday’s protest.
“But you can see they [officers] have changed their tactical formation here,” he continued. “So you can have a bunch of people around you and the officers are trying to do threat assessments. They are looking at eyes and they’re looking at hands. They are looking at backpacks. What do these people have?”
The sheriff said his agency will continue to support the protesters as long as they remain peaceful.
“I would just reaffirm our commitment to them to support the constitutional right to peacefully protest. That occurred last night and we will continue to support their effort to do that,” Rambosk said.