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Video shows pastor arrested during peaceful Jacksonville protest

Warning: The video in this story contains some profanity that may be offensive to viewers.

Pastor Delaine Smith was arrested and accused of unlawful assembly during a peaceful protest in downtown Jacksonville on Sunday.
Pastor Delaine Smith was arrested and accused of unlawful assembly during a peaceful protest in downtown Jacksonville on Sunday. (Screenshots via Facebook)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pastors are calling for justice after one of their own was arrested Sunday during a peaceful protest in downtown Jacksonville.

Delaine Smith, 56, was one of the dozens of protesters who gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse to call for the end of police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Smith recorded herself on Facebook Live for more than an hour during Sunday’s protest and captured her eventual arrest at the hands of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

(Warning: This video contains some profanity that may be offensive to viewers. The events leading up to Smith’s arrest can be seen in the last five minutes of the video.)

My city Jacksonville FL wii NOT be destroyed. Peace, Love & Justice. I’m downtown Praying at the courthouse

Posted by Delaine Smith on Sunday, May 31, 2020

During the video, Smith can be seen trying to call for peace and tells multiple protesters to go home.

“There will be justice, and you’re going to have peace. We will not destroy this city,” Smith said in the video, which has now been viewed more than 20,000 times. “Go home, baby. You did good.”

As JSO officers surround the protesters and call for them to disperse, Smith begins to tell the protesters to leave and stay on the sidewalk.

“I am not bailing you out today. They are looking for a reason,” she said. “I need you to go and come back another day.”

She then can be seen asking an officer why the peaceful protest is considered an unlawful assembly.

“This is unlawful assembly. This is your last warning,” an officer responds.

A short time later JSO officers can then be seen detaining a protester as Smith says, “Sir, I got them. They leaving.”

An officer then turns to Smith.

“Ma’am put your hands behind your back. You’ve had your chance. We can only push so much,” the officer says as the cell phone continues to record.

Smith can then be heard saying, “Did you not see me get rid of 200 people off the steps of the courthouse?”

The sound of zip ties tightening can be heard as she is detained and her phone is placed in her bag.

“Where am I going?” Smith asks.

According to JSO records, Smith was booked into jail at 8:25 p.m. and accused of unlawful assembly. Her bond was set at $753.

Pastor Jay Harris of The Ville Church called a press conference Monday and asked for a public apology from police and for Smith’s record to be expunged.

“I don’t know about you, but like I said I pay taxes. And when I pay taxes I don’t want these things that I pay taxes for destroyed. And this woman’s out here protecting our property,” Harris said. “And I imagine people in our city would call somebody like that a hero. But we have a problem with excessive force when somebody who is a hero is locked in chains for doing what the police want them to do for actually protecting the property of citizens right when our officers don’t have the patience to stop and distinguish a hero from a criminal.”

Pastor Jay Harris calls for a public apology following the arrest of Pastor Delaine Smith during a Sunday protest in Jacksonville.
Pastor Jay Harris calls for a public apology following the arrest of Pastor Delaine Smith during a Sunday protest in Jacksonville. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

Over two days of protests in Jacksonville over the weekend, which briefly turned violent Saturday night, 79 people were charged with unlawful assembly, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

According to records, Smith is in the process of being released on her own recognizance. The jail is on modified lockdown for security reasons which may have slowed the process.


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