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Gainesville Police Department bodycam footage shows midtown/downtown chaos over multiple weekends: “It’s bedlam”

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

We have obtained a copy of the video shown by Interim Police Chief Lonnie Scott Sr. to the Gainesville City Commission on May 5, and the 5-minute video can be viewed below. The video mostly shows views from the body cameras of Gainesville Police Department officers while monitoring late-night crowds in midtown and downtown Gainesville.

The video opens with an overhead look at an intersection, where a large number of people are overflowing onto the street.

After an April 9 scan through a bar, it shifts to a March 17 scene at the plaza on the corner of W. University Avenue and NW 17th Street that took place at 1:52 a.m., with multiple fights in view, then a March 20 scene at the same location, also just before 2 a.m., with an injured person on the ground while another fight starts in the background.

The next scene takes place at about 8:00 p.m. on April 17 (Easter) in the parking lot of the Aloha Liquor Store, next door to McDonald’s on E. University Avenue and across the street from Wawa. The woman speaking to the officer says, “They need to move out… This is crazy… They’re going crazy, I can’t handle it.”

At about 11:30 p.m. Easter night, the video shifts to a crowd of people outdoors and shows an officer trying to detain a suspect, who runs. Multiple officers join the chase, and the suspect is handcuffed. At about the same time, we see multiple officers in a parking garage filled with people, many of whom are holding drinks. The officers move from one fight to the next, with some people attacking the officers. About 20 minutes later, an officer responding to a fight sees a subject pulling a gun from his waistband. Video from a citizen on a phone shows the officer after he has taken down the subject, but the gun has disappeared; the officer is scanning the crowd to find it while holding the subject down. While officers move in to protect him, another fight breaks out.

While showing the video to the city commission, Chief Scott said,  “It’s bedlam… the primary reason we show you that is just to show you that when I tell you that we’re getting to the point where we may not be able to control all the crowds, this is the evidence of it… I’ve never seen it at this level… A large part of that is we’re not just dealing with Gainesville folks; we’re dealing with people from all over the area.”

Scott told the commission, “Gainesville, quite frankly, has become the regional hub for folks in and around this area to come drink and hang out. They come here from as far south as Miami… We asked them why are you coming here from Palatka… and they said we can’t do this in Palatka. And that seemed to be a resounding theme to a lot of the folks coming here, that they can’t do what they do here in Palatka… They can’t drink openly in the parking lots like they do here. And that’s become a serious issue with us… In all candor, there’s only so much we can do with the limited personnel that we have.”

  • Here’s an idea. Put all of the city commissioners in plain clothes and let them police the downtown areas. They’re the ones inviting all of this mess, shouldn’t they be the ones who have to deal with it? Defund the police? Yeah, right.
    I for one would love to see Harvey and Poe’s whimpering pansy arses try to break up a fight.

    • Great idea and a great question to pose each of them at election time. Hats off to the officers with the courage to face that drunken mob every night. With ‘open container’ they are completely outmanned by the partiers.

  • God BLESS these officers!! WHY would anyone want to do this job? The liberals want to take our second amendment rights and turn the entire country into mayhem! Give them “something else” to do at midnight (Poe)?? They all need to GO TO BED!!!

  • Pay the police and sheriffs more! Up their pay so more will come work and so many won’t leave.

    • The Biggest Police State in Human History is somehow outmanned on the streets of Gainesville, so The Biggest Police State in Human History needs to grow bigger while being more secretive about crime info…Problem-Reaction-Solution…boiling frog says what?

  • Imagine you are some white or Asian female grad student who went out for a drink that night, and this is what you encounter when you try to return to your car and drive away. Like a lot of things Poe and the four other mentally deficient commissioners do, it’s “bad for business.” Poe should put on a white uniform, get a push broom, and spend a weekend evening and late night sweeping up the parking garage while all the wilding-type activities are happening. Let’s see if that changes his perspective.

    • What does being white or Asian have to do with it? The crowds are a problem, period. Let’s reserve decent feedback here and go to 4chan for the rest.

      • A white or Asian female would likely feel more vulnerable, Bobbie. In the parking garages here, the BLACK crowds are the problem, 100%. Do you want to argue with the police chief, too? He’s seen it with his own eyes just like I have, on many occasions.

        • Do BLACK people make you feel small and insecure? Mr. Peabody?

          • No, but having parking garages functioning as free underground ghetto clubs complete with drugs and occasional shootouts is sure to lower sales at nearby businesses and make many people feel unsafe – people who actually want to use the parking garage for its intended purpose. Parking garages should be clean and sanitary and 100 percent safe. No one should be “hanging out” there – EVER – unless your car is broken down and you are waiting for a tow truck or a ride.

  • WTF are we renewing another 1-cent sales tax for Children’s Trust and parks when we can see the results several years after the first one didn’t work as planned? They prefer feral offspring in parking lots, instead. Just spend it on MORE cops and deputies, hand it over to GPD and ASO. They can use it more wisely.

    • Price of Housing Free Party Zone, Property Tax (Made up out of thin air) Establishment making things up as they make you go

  • Welcome to Gangsville! Maybe Poe, Saco, chunky clunky Ward, and Adrianna H-Shltos can help talk sensibly to these nice crowds they created. See what you get when you let liberal zealots with no experience doing anything run, err I mean RUIN, a town. Thanks Fearsome Foursome Poe, Saco, Shltos, Ward! PS You are done with elected office!

  • I’ve seen enough. Was some of that footage inside
    A parking garage? Enough is enough…things are
    Out of control. We need a temporary moratorium on
    Alcohol sales in the city after 10pm. The city needs
    To get this under control now. No open container.

      • Hah, stop at 9?! That’s insane! I for one am against hard drugs like alcohol, but I don’t think that will work.

  • The May 1st Murder in the Southwest Downtown Parking Garage seems to have entered a news blackout. No report from any source since May 3rd. No decedent named 16 days after the death? Less info shared with the public, more mystery. Is this a new law enforcement protocol to beta test what the general public will accept?

    • Was that footage of a brouhaha in the downtown parking garage? That was totally out of control! Did they
      Do a cost benefit analysis on open container? We
      Got a problem. Time for a Covid spike and quarantine…
      We need to stop these drunken rioters. They need
      To stay home and be superhero’s….

      • Yes, May 1st Shooting Death happened in the same Southwest Downtown Parking Garage (105 SW 3rd St, Gainesville, FL 32601) where the garage mob footage happened in the above video clip. The shooting death is being covered up for some reason.

  • actually, instead of the knee-jerk responses much of this could be avoided with refining the open container law, eliminate the 2am law and let establishments stay open after 2 (without alcohol sales) to avoid the mass exodus from bars, and reinstate the downtown detail, with the horse patrol

  • okay, from what I can see, this is the best reason to not get rid of abortion…don’t stop the fights, let them kill each other off…one less person to have to deal with. For the people that say defund the police, I say no, pay them more to keep the fighting corralled in the parking garage so no one outside gets hurt and let all the dudes wearing weave duke it out. just make them go through a metal detector beforehand so they can only beat on each other. Charge people admission to the parking garages to watch and tape the fights. The ticket charge will help pay for more police to keep them in the garage.
    Stop paying people to have kids, charge them instead for everything. Maybe people will stop having so many little hoodlums

    In all seriousness, stop serving alcohol at sundown, do not allow anyone to enter the parking garage unless they have a parking voucher to get their car, escort them to their car. Make it very expensive to park downtown and tow any and all that have parked illegally
    Make going downtown painful to their wallets

    • A temporary moratorium on booze after sundown
      And your parking garage idea is a good way to get
      The problem under control. No open container too…it’s
      Not worth the associated BS.

  • This is a college town, so nobody’s going to change this behavior with alcohol sale curfews or more money for law enforcement employees! The population in Gville is too big to be policed safely. I don’t understand why UF police weren’t in the video footage @ midtown! That should NOT be GPD’s area to clean up, leave GPD to police everything off campus. Those businesses across from campus should be annexed by UF!

    • Poe needs to stop open container & alcohol sales at
      Sundown because of the increase in Covid cases.
      These people are not social distancing. “ stay at home
      And be a superhero”…the variant is very contagious.
      Use American rescue funds to put more cops on
      The streets to protect the public from the weekend chaos and bedlam downtown & midtown..Law enforcement needs to
      Have a paddy wagon and arrest these large unruly
      Crowds…

  • When I was young example video here. Listened to.music played billiards drank a watered down picture of beer. 🍺 Chilled ….. rode bicycle home. Hanging out in a fffffff nnnnnnnnn parking garage……never understand youngsters….

  • every wise commenter knows the cops and the city commissioners are in it together (taking orders from on high while pretending to be surprised)

  • Make fun noises so it sounds like a firearm is going off and watch them all run like hell!!! Just sayin. You know it would work.

  • Lol what does defending the police has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS. Gainesville has always been the hub for this region. These kids come here to Gainesville not because of a open container law. This is a party town.Stop it what do you expect in downtown of any city. So you think by stopping alcohol sells on Sunday gonna stop anything. Open the bars up later. Let’s talk solutions ALL yall TALKING IS FEAR.

  • been thinking about this hanging out in a parking garage f. U. K ing parking garage dealing drugs gut is telling me drugs. Cameras always have blind spots.

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