Security increases at Duval County Courthouse

Protestors bring more police presence downtown

Author: Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 14 2014 09:41:30 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 15 2014 12:45:25 AM EST
Security at the courthouse
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Security is tighter around the grounds of the Duval County Courthouse as the Michael Dunn trial winds down.

A heavy police presence was set up at every corner of the courthouse on Friday during jury deliberations.

As protestors waited for jurors to make a decision in the Michael Dunn trial, the crowd grew and so did the amount of police.

"It appears that they have done a good job of planning, strategically placing these officers in various places," said Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson.

Channel 4 walked around the grounds of the Duval County Courthouse Friday night with Jefferson. There were officers at every corner watching and waiting to react to anyone who may cross the line in their demonstrations.

"Sometimes it's offensive, sometimes it's agitating but as long as it doesn't interfere with progress of the courthouse, as long as they don't interfere with anybody else, they have a right to do this," said Jefferson. "They have a key on what's going on. We see a lot of uniform officers, but there are some officers that you don't know that is watching this crowd as well. If something were to break out or wreak havoc, they would be forced to act immediately."

Jefferson told Channel 4 that if something were to happen, officers will first warn demonstrators if they are interfering with the normal businesses of the court. In more serious situations, unruly protestors will be removed.