The governor of Florida has declared a state of emergency to prepare for a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer on Thursday at the University of Florida.
The declaration, made by Gov. Rick Scott, will allow law enforcement in Alachua County, where the university is located, to coordinate better with state officials and buy equipment more quickly. University officials have said they intend to spend $500,000 on security for the talk. Sheriff Sadie Darnell told The Washington Post that she would be buying radios to improve communication between all the affected security agencies.
“We have looked at what happened in Charlottesville and Berkeley,” Darnell said. “We’re not being alarmist. But we want to be prepared.”
A march led by Spencer in August at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville led to fights with counter-protesters; they escalated the following day, leading to a woman’s death at the hands of an “alt-right” car driver.
Spencer told the Post that he had been cooperative with the university and that if there is violence, it won’t be started by his side.
“It’s these antifa [anti-fascist] groups,” Spencer said. “They’re thugs. Nasty, nasty people.”