Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency Before Richard Spencer Speech

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in Alachua County ahead of a speech by white supremacist Richard Spencer. In a seven-page executive order, Scott cited safety concerns ahead of Thursday’s event at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. “I find that the threat of a potential emergency is imminent,” he said. “We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion. However, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” he said. Extra precautions are being taken because Spencer’s previous appearances in Virginia, Alabama, California, and Texas “have sparked protests and counter-protests resulting in episodes of violence, civil unrest and multiple arrests,” according to Scott’s order. The emergency order came at the request of Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.