This morning, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents, with the assistance of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced the arrest of Jason Brown, 48, of Cape Canaveral, for hanging swastikas and other antisemitic banners along the Daryl Carter Parkway Bridge in Orlando.
There are currently three outstanding arrest warrants for additional demonstrators who live out of state and who Florida Department of Law Enforcement says actions were in violation of newly enacted state law. Earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 269, which includes provisions that prohibit individuals from displaying or projecting images onto a building, structure, or property without permission.
“We want to thank Governor DeSantis for his support of law enforcement and for the signing of HB 269, giving us the tools to arrest this hate-filled radical,” said FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass. “This activity will not be tolerated in the greatest state in the country, Florida.”
— FDLE (@fdlepio) September 13, 2023
“Florida is a law-and-order state. Today’s arrest demonstrates Florida’s commitment to protecting residents from attention-seeking extremists,” said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner. “On behalf of Colonel Gary L. Howze, II, and the nearly 2,000 FHP State Troopers who enforce our state law 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thank you Governor DeSantis, for working to rid this state of intimidation, vitriol and hate directed towards people of faith, and for empowering law enforcement to do the same.”
Volusia Resident Rachael Love Cohen says she is more threatened by Government restricting Freedom of Speech than by anti-Semitic messages.
"As a Jew and American Citizen, I have fear our Government is taking too much power," Cohen told the Floridian. "These bills are chipping away at our fundamental liberties."
Cohen, who said she moved from South Florida to DeLand to escape Covid restrictions and because Jewish Schools required vaccines, said she had witnessed Anti-Jewish incidents in her neighborhood.
"We had swastikas drawn in the street near our house. It turned out to be a group of teenagers," said Cohen.
Cohen said bills like HB 269 are "part and parcel of removing our fundamental free speech rights."
"This has nothing to do with the First Amendment," said State Representative Randy Fine, one of the new law's sponsors. "We are targeting people littering on property, not handing out leaflets in the public square."
Fine called today a "historic day in the fight against antisemitism."
This is an historic day in the fight against antisemitism. Proud to have worked with @RepMikeCaruso and @AlexisMCalatayu to have passed a law to put these Nazis where they belong -- behind bars. pic.twitter.com/O9M5fvOECB
— Rep. Randy Fine (@VoteRandyFine) September 13, 2023
According to FDLE, on June 10, the suspects placed banners along a fence without receiving written permission, which is a violation of state law. The banners included swastika flags and racist messages that hung directly over I-4. According to FDLE, the arrested suspect claims to be a member of “Order of the Black Sun”, what FDLE calls an "antisemitic, extremist group".
Brown will be charged with Criminal Mischief according to FDLE.