JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville community activist Ben Frazier — who was arrested during a city council meeting in December — had his court appearance, which was originally scheduled for Monday at 9 a.m., postponed for four weeks.
His attorney John Phillips said prosecutors postponed it at the last minute.
Frazier, 72, is the president of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and was charged with misdemeanor trespassing and resisting arrest without violence after he refused to leave the podium during public comment after his allowed time had ended. He was expressing his opinions on Confederate monuments in Jacksonville before his arrest.
Frazier plans to attend Tuesday night’s city council meeting at 5 p.m. despite the risk of possibly being arrested again.
Frazier and Phillips called the postponing a “denial of justice” and are hoping for a dismissal.
“We can’t keep doing this,” Phillips said. “We can’t keep having somebody who has been arrested and spent a night in jail for political speech because he has been 68 seconds or 2 minutes instead of the allotted 65 seconds. Some countries including this one call that a political prisoner.”
Frazier and others were there to advocate for the removal of Confederate monuments across the city.
“I’m being treated like a political prisoner, not for violation of any codified laws, but because of my political dispute, it’s wrong,” Ben Frazier said. “This should not happen in America today.”
Frazier said he plans to continue his advocacy to remove the monuments at tomorrow night’s city council meeting despite the risk of being arrested.
“We will in fact be before the city council tomorrow at 5 p.m. and we’re asking all volunteers supporters and members of our coalition and organizations to join us,” Frazier said. “Our plan is to exercise our constitutional rights to express how we feel about Confederate monuments on public property. We think they should be removed.”
News4JAX asked Frazier if he planned on taking three minutes to speak at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Our plan is to utilize our constitutional rights to express how we feel about Confederate monuments on public property,” Frazier said. “We think they should be removed. We call this the Stop the Mess rally. Stop the mess. Let’s make progress.”
There is no exact date for the next hearing yet.