A Black activist is arrested before Ron DeSantis news conference: "Why am I being handcuffed?"

Black activist Ben Frazier was arrested while peacefully protesting in a public space inside Florida state offices where Governor Ron DeSantis was about to hold a news conference on public health.

The first of two videos below show Frazier, from Jacksonville, speaking to a DeSantis staffer who told him to leave.

"You're attempting to stop us from gathering peaceably in a public building," Frazier said. "That, sir, is appalling and absurd. This is a public meeting, this is a public official, we have a right to be here. And we are not moving!"

He then asks where the governor is. "Is he going to run and hide? Or will he face the people?"

DeSantis, known for his hiding tactics as of late, did not appear before Frazier. Instead, law enforcement came in to handcuff and escort Frazier out of the building (and into a police car).

"Why am I being handcuffed? I have not done anything to anyone. Why am I being handcuffed," he says in the second video. "Am I being arrested?"

According to News4Jax:

The facilities manager said that while the building is a state building, they conduct private business in some areas and asked everyone who was not with the media to leave the room or risk being trespassed from the property. …

"There's nothing private about public health," Frazier said. …

The heated exchange continued and eventually ended with Frazier in handcuffs being led from the building and placed in a marked police car.

Frazier later shared with News4JAX that he was arrested on a trespassing charge but released on his own recognizance and given a notice to appear in court.

"I think it's another stunning example of the governor's attempt to stop Black organizers from protesting peaceably. First Amendment rights and public expression is critical to a functioning democracy. This is what this is all about. The governor should not attempt to stop the people from being heard," Frazier said.