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OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF CONSOLIDATED CITY OF JACKSONVILLE a 501 EAST BAY STREET * JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32202-2875, John H. Rutherford Sheriff Tuesday, December 09, 2014 (acksonville, FL) - The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested 19 individuals after safely escorting, them off the Hart Bridge shortly after Spm on Monday. They were charged with obstruction of traffic on the bridge, and with the exception of one with an outstanding warrant and another who was charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, by Tuesday morning all others had been released from the Pre Trial Detention Facility with notices to appear in court in January. The evening traffic obstruction was the second one on Monday, after individuals in cars blocked traffic on interstate 95 near Emerson Street, and then began protesting on the highway. This, was quickly addressed by law enforcement from both JSO and the Florida Highway Patrol. Allpprotesters in both incidents were escorted to safety and off those major roadways. Both incidents resulted in major traffic backups, as officers worked to mitigate the disruption and protect the public and the protestors. “I want to thank the citizens for their patience in these incidents. We are working hard to protect the First Amendment right of our citizens to peaceably protest, however, my officers are also working to keep everyone safe when the chosen location of the protest, such as bridges and highways, presents such a clear danger to the welfare of everyone and presents a clear disregard for the law. Our officers have conducted themselves admirably, especially during the arrests of the 19 individuals who were obstructing the traffic on the Hart Bridge last night,” said Sheriff John Rutherford. The Sheriff attributes the non-confrontational nature of these incidents to the long standing relationships he and his men and women have built and maintain in the community, particularly those representing minority interests and among citizens in some of Jacksonville's most challenged neighborhoods. A Nationally Accredited Agency An Equal Opportunity Employer Obstruction of Traffic Arrests ~ Page 2 ““'m proud of our work with Sheriffs Advisory Councils; Neighborhood Watch; those who come out and walk with us; the religious community; the NAACP; and many others to create open dialogue to resolve issues that arise in our community relative to public safety. People know they can work with us and talk rationally and frankly to me about anything, any time. | believe that we reap the benefit of sowing these seeds of communication and conciliation when tested, like now, as these protests occur, “ he said “Last night's obstruction of traffic arrests occurred without incident, with the exception of one individual who chose to become violent and strike an officer. This resulted in a Battery on a Law Enforcement charge. Coincidentally, this was the one individual who is not from the Jacksonville area. Those protesting will have their right to peaceably assemble protected by this agency. But, when the law is broken, such as obstructing traffic, arrests will occur. We work to keep everyone safe and respect the rights of all citizens in this community,” Rutherford sai. ‘The arrest dockets and mug shots of those arrested in Monday night's incident have been disseminated to local media outlets.